Mahmoud Darwish Award for Creativity: An Algerian artist, Palestinian filmmaker and French scholar are named winners

The winners each received a cash prize of $25,000, as well as a letter of commendation signed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

From left: French scholar Henry Laurens, Palestinian filmmaker Mohammad Bakri and Algerian artist Rachid Koraichi. Getty; AFP; Alamy
From left: French scholar Henry Laurens, Palestinian filmmaker Mohammad Bakri and Algerian artist Rachid Koraichi. Getty; AFP; Alamy

Algerian artist Rachid Koraichi, French scholar Henry Laurens and Palestinian filmmaker Mohammad Bakri have won the 12th iteration of the Mahmoud Darwish Award for Creativity.

The winners were announced on Saturday, which coincided with the birthday of the late Palestinian poet and author, after whom the awards are named.

The three winners were chosen for their cultural presence and achievements, their contributions to the Palestinian, Arab and international cultural movements, as well as for defending the values of law, freedom and justice, according to the jury.

They will each receive a cash prize of $25,000, as well as an award certificate signed by Palestine's President Mahmoud Abbas.

Koraichi, the jury said, was awarded “for his tremendous work in restoring all that is human through art, formation and colour”, and because the Palestinian cause has a predominant place in his opus.

Born in 1947 in Ain Beida, Algeria, into a family of Quranic scholars and copyists, Koraichi’s Sufi upbringing has had a noticeable effect on his works.

His art – which encompasses a wide range of mediums, from sculptures to ceramics and printmaking – often incorporates Arabic calligraphy, as well as glyphs from other languages. The artworks range from abstract pieces to political commentaries, such as the works he has created in support of Palestine.

Laurens, meanwhile, was chosen “because of the objectivity of his research and because of its connection with Arab issues and the Palestinian issue in particular”.

The French historian, who is a professor at Paris’s College de France, has authored several studies about the Arab-Muslim world. He specialises in several areas of research, including the European-Ottoman connection during the 19th century, Middle Eastern politics and the history of modern Palestine, about which he was penned a four-volume work.

Film director Mohammad Bakri C) receives a price from Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum (L) and and from the director of the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF), Masoud Amralla Al Ali (R), during the closing ceremony of the Dubai International Film Festival in Dubai on December 13, 2017. AFP
Film director Mohammad Bakri, centre, receives a prize from Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed, left, and from the artistic director of the Dubai International Film Festival, Masoud Amralla Al Ali, at the Dubai International Film Festival in 2017. AFP

Bakri won "for his cinematic and documentary efforts for the Palestinian cause and struggle”.

The jury gave a special mention to Bakri’s 2002 film Jenin, Jenin which highlights the events of the Battle of Jenin in 2002, when its refugee camp came under attack.

Updated: March 14, 2021 05:53 PM

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