Koraïchi, Rachid (1947--) By Powers, Jean Holiday
Born in Ain Beida, Algeria to a Sufi family, Rachid Koraïchi’s art is often framed within a tradition of Sufi spirituality in which aesthetics and metaphysics are intertwined. Writing and signs hold sacred importance for Koraïchi, and calligraphy often structures his works. Drawing from Arabic calligraphy, Koraïchi has created something of his own script—or graphic language—that includes Amazigh and Tuareg letters, as well as mystical symbols. This calligraphy is sometimes legible, but is often abstracted with thick repetitions, becoming signs or figures. While Koraïchi is deeply tied to mystic and visual traditions, and draws from the spiritual and artisanal heritage of the Maghreb, in his artwork these ideas and systems of communication are reworked to become something new. His work ranges from mystical, abstract works to direct political commentary in dialogue with revolutionary and liberation movements. Koraïchi’s diverse oeuvre encompasses everything from intimate prints to large-scale banners and installations. He works in varied media, including printmaking, paint, ceramics, and textiles. Beyond Koraïchi’s personal work, collaborations with writers and poets such as Mohammed Dib, Jamel Eddine Bencheikh, René Char, Michel Butor, and Mahmoud Darwish, have been an important part of his legacy. A number of Koraïchi’s works have also been executed in collaboration with North African artisans trained in traditional techniques, as in dying, weaving, or pottery.