This project retraces the odyssey of the Koraïchi family, beginning in the 8th century, when North Africa was converting to Islam. One branch of the family settled in the Algerian desert, while another went north towards Morocco and Spain. The first ancestor was buried at Oued Souf (‘Valley of Wool’) near the small town of Kuinine in Algeria. ‘Souf’ is the origin of the word Sufi (‘he who wears wool’). The ancestor’s seven sons are buried beneath his tomb, whence the local name ‘The Seven Sleepers’. As is often the case in mystical Islamic mausoleums, this one yielded a number of silk banners, which gave Rachid Koraïchi the idea of making one for each ancestor and thus following the links in the initiatory chain back to the Prophet. He made 99 such banners, renewing the association with the 99 Muslim names for God: The All-Forgiving, The Most Merciful, The Utterly Just, etc. Making the banners took three years’ work in Damascus, on the silk route; for today Syria continues to breed silkworms in its mulberry groves and maintains the tradition of weaving this exquisite fabric.
Exhibition presented at the Chapelle Saint-Martin in Le Méjan.