Showcasing the incredible talent of Moroccan Berber weavers, the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech is opening a temporary exhibition, Desert Design. It will feature thirty contemporary rugs, woven by women of the Aït Khebbach, a tribe from eastern Morocco. The tribe's traditional homeland is right at the edge of the Sahara desert. Perhaps living in such harsh and desolate environment inspired the use of contrasting vibrant colours and bold patterns in the rugs.
Arnaud Maurières, co-curator of the exhibition, describes the
moment he saw these rugs for the first time :
In December 2010, we were exploring the eastern Moroccan desert, a vast plain devoid of trees, shadows and water. It was there, in the middle of nowhere, that we came upon two modest earthen structures: the home of our guide, Lahcen, and his family. Nine people lived within the walls; there was nothing in the unpainted interior that resembled furniture. The only thing we noticed was a pile of rugs in the corner of one of the rooms. As they were unfolded to welcome us, the floor suddenly seemed dappled with vibrant colours, which astounded us. Lahcen told us that all the women of his tribe wove such rugs, and asked if we wanted to meet them. It was how our adventure began.
The unique talent of the Berber weavers is celebrated in Desert Design, which brings two worlds together: that of modern Moroccan design, and that of traditional desert culture. The rugs challenge preconceived ideas of traditional weaving and show off the inventiveness and expressiveness of the women who weave them. Tribal and contemporary are not opposite ideas or aesthetics - they are ever evolving concepts.
Until 8 October 2019, Musée Yves Saint Laurent, Rue Yves Saint Laurent, 40090 Marrakech, Morocco.