The concept

Morocco, a land of carpets if there ever was one, possesses a wide variety of carpet styles: every region, each community distinguishes itself through their own patterns and codes. These carpets: Azilal, Beni Ouaraim, Boujad, Hamna, Telsint, or Zemmour, to only mention the most famous ones, have garnered great notoriety over the years with collectors around the world.

Over the last fifty years, at the same time as this communal production, a more individual style of carpet appeared: the “Boucharouite”. Poor relative to the traditional woolen carpet, made of strips of cloth from long discarded clothing, they have been kept hidden and unappreciated by the members of their community. The recycling of personal effects adds a very strong dimension to these carpets: the transmission of fragments of the life of the women weaving them. These “Boucharouites” are true family archives: at a glance one can recognise the shirt of a grandfather long since passed away, the shorts of the child happily married today. Even without being valued by their community, these carpets still remain the pride of the women who made them.
Comfortably installed in front of their loom, like a philharmonic orchestra harpsichord player in front of her instrument, their fingers will pinch the strung wires of the frame to weave a symphony of colours that will recall nature’s beauty through its different seasons.

More recently – not even two years ago – a new type of carpet appeared on the market, the “Zindekh”. Its particular characteristic being that it’s woven onto an extremely cheap weft: bags made out plastic that used to hold 50kg of rice or flower. Embroidery, by allowing to free themselves from the loom, provides the women even more artistic freedom to express themselves than with the “Boucharouites”.

These carpets, “Boucharouites” or “Zindekh”, of incredible creativity are for the most part made by elderly women relieved of the most arduous communal tasks and thus with spare time on their hands. They have rapidly become a form of passive emancipation for these women as they can finally freely express their worldview and emotions, fuelled by a life well lived and without the constraints of communal codes or patterns.

Asked about where they find their inspiration, they will often be embarrassed or amused and say they don’t know, they let themselves be guided by their intuition and create their carpets in a spontaneous manner.

Though there is no connection between these Berber craftswomen and western contemporary artists, and despite their vast cultural differences, they undeniably share the same expressive sensitivity. Discovering these carpets one cannot but be reminded of some of the great names in contemporary art such as Kandinsky, Klee, Klimt, Mondrian, Rothko, de Staël and others… underlining the idea of art’s universality.

“Discovered” just a few years ago, these “Boucharouites” and “Zindekhs”, emerging from the adobe houses hugging the slopes of the Atlas Mountains, will finally gain the recognition they deserve and reveal their unique, stunning and definitely modern artistic richness.

Amongst the plethora of carpets, only those created by women blessed by real artistic talent will distinguish themselves from the rest and be considered as true works of art