Modern Prayer Rug Design Competition

In support of the creative vision of Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), the Materials Library at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar is pleased to sponsor a Modern Prayer Rug Design Competition. The competition challenges students from across Qatar to reimagine the Islamic prayer rug using traditional or unconventional materials, while honoring the richness and the values of Islamic culture and heritage. All entrants will have the opportunity to work with the professional staff and the materials collections of the VCUQatar Art and Design Library and the VCUQatar Materials Library in order to identify innovative and interesting materials for their rug designs.

Guidelines and Rules

  • All contestants must reside in Qatar.
  • The competition is open to individuals 15 years of age and older.
  • All contestants must be enrolled in, or an alumni of, a school located in Qatar.
  • Entrants may apply as an individual or as part of a team. Teams may not exceed more than three members.
  • Individuals and teams may only submit one entry.
  • Entrants are expected to develop a visual submission in the form of a pdf-format digital file, designed to print an A1 poster (594mm Wide x 841mm Height).
  • All entrants will be provided access to the VCUQatar Materials Library and staff support in order to explore potential materials.
  • All submissions must reflect Islamic culture and heritage in the final design.
  • All design work must be the original work of the entrant. The design may not be based on, or derived from, pre-existing designs or images from third-party sources.
  • All entries will become the property of the Qatar Foundation. By submitting an entry, each entrant agrees that any and all intellectual property rights in the prayer rug design are assigned to Qatar Foundation.
  • Upon application to the contest, all entrants grant permission for their name and images of their design work to be used for publicity purposes without further permission or compensation.
  • All entrants will have access to the VCUQatar Materials Library (Sunday – Thursday, 10:00am – 4:00pm) prior to submission.
  • A valid email address and a copy of the entrant’s Qatar ID must be included with each entry.
  • Students under the age of 18 must obtain their parent or guardian’s signature of permission.

Judging Criteria

A panel of judges from the QELA Committee and VCUQatar will evaluate all entries based on the following criteria:

Relevance: Does the prayer rug design align with the theme of the competition? How well does it reflect Islamic culture and heritage?

Originality and Innovation: Does the prayer rug design demonstrate the re-imagination of the prayer rug using traditional or non-traditional material and/or innovative techniques? Does the prayer rug design honor Islamic values, culture and history, while at the same time proposing a creative, novel, and forward-looking vision of this archetypal artifact?

Aesthetic and Functional Quality: Does the prayer rug design invoke ritual use? Is it portable? Is it durable? Does it provoke wonder and delight? Does it invite the 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 a monetary prize, the Modern Prayer Rug Design Competition offers the top finalists the opportunity to create a prototype of their rugs for local, regional and/or international exhibitions. The finalists selected for prototypes will have access to the VCUQatar Art and Design Library and the Materials Library in order to realize the creation of their work.


Entry applications accepted: May 11, 2017

Entry deadline: June 17, 2017

Announcement of finalists: June 26, 2017

Finalists' prototypes due: September 2017

Grand prize announcement: September 2017

Prototypes on public exhibit: October 2017

(Prototypes may be exhibited for local, regional and/or international exhibitions): Fall 2017 - Spring 2018

For more information, please contact:

Amy Andres
Director of Libraries
Virginia Commonwealth University, Qatar


Abdul Rahman Anwar
Materials Curator
Virginia Commonwealth University, Qatar

Click here to enter the competition