The Materials Library at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar (VCUQatar) is launching a Modern Prayer Rug Design Competition for students across Qatar using traditional or unconventional materials. The competition is in support of the creative vision of Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF). Deadline for entries is 17 June.

The competition challenges students from across Qatar to reimagine the Islamic prayer rug using traditional or unconventional materials, while honouring the richness and values of Islamic culture and heritage.

All participants will have the opportunity to work with a professional staff and utilise the materials collection of VCUQatar’s Art and Design Library and Materials Library to identify innovative and interesting materials for their rug designs.

A panel of judges from the Qatar Luxury Group (QELA) Committee and VCUQatar will evaluate all entries based on the following criteria:

  • Relevance: Does the design align with the theme of the competition? How well does it reflect Islamic culture and heritage?
  • Originality and Innovation: Does the design demonstrate the re-imagination of the prayer rug using traditional or non-traditional material and/or innovative techniques? Does it honour Islamic values, culture and history, while proposing a creative, novel, and forward-looking vision of this archetypal artifact?
  • Aesthetic and Functional Quality: Does the design invoke ritual use? Is it portable? Is it durable? Does it provoke wonder and delight? Does it invite touch? Does its novelty distinguish it from traditional models and add functional or conceptual value?
  • Feasibility: Is the proposed design technically and practically possible within the context of the competition?

In addition to the cash prize, the Modern Prayer Rug Design Competition offers finalists the opportunity to create a prototype of their rugs for local, regional and/or international exhibitions. The finalists selected for prototyping will have access to VCUQatar’s Art and Design Library and its Materials Library. Finalists will be announced on 26 June, and the grand prize awarding will be in September 2017.

More information on the guidelines and rules of the competition can be found on VCUQatar website. For a complete list of QF initiatives and projects, visit