The Moroccan Carpet Caravan in the summer of 2012 will bring 2 carpet weavers and their translator from The Valley of the Roses in Morocco to The Land of Enchantment, Bean Town, the Land of 101 Lakes, and The Crescent City in the USA (New Mexico, Boston, Steuben County Indiana, and New Orleans) for a variety of carpet art events such as weaving workshops, artist talks, carpet exhibitions and cross cultural presentations.
Many of the rural weavers from this valley in Morocco are cave dwelling nomads and subsistence farmers. They may never have been to a formal school or even know how to turn pages in a book or how to use pencils, yet they are creating visual masterpieces of carpet art and maintaining an incredibly rich indigenous culture that make us question many of our Western stereotypes. Beyond the artistic accomplishment of the rag rugs and interdisciplinary art dialogue they encourage, this is a unique opportunity for conversations to take place between American and Moroccan women. The events are special opportunities for Americans to learn from those directly affected by the current political situation across North Africa and the climate of Islamic - Christian relations across the USA and Middle East. The events also will advance the rural Moroccan weavers goals by introducing their artisan products to a new market and, therefore, offer forms of economic independence for women from the developing world.
Mouhou Boussine and Kibira Ait Karrou (the weaving talent), the translator, and “Touria” (the American roadie/manager) start out in New Orleans for two weeks of events at the Ashe Cultural Arts Center that has received support and partial funding from the Arts Council of New Orleans. Mouhou and Kibira will offer carpet weaving workshops, an extensive carpet exhibition and sale and cross cultural presentations that will directly connect North African weavers with African American artists in New Orleans and the community.
The carpet caravan will then travel to Boston where we have been invited to mount a two-month exhibition at Fort Point Arts Community. The exhibition, titled Fallen Cave Paintings: Mouhou, Touria, and Zahra, shows carpets, photographs and video of Terra and the carpets of her two Moroccan carpet weaving mentors Zahra, a cave dwelling nomad, and Mouhou, a subsistence farmer. Referencing Linda Benglass's "fallen paintings," evoking prehistoric cave paintings, and pairing the ancient art of carpet weaving with video and works on paper, this exhibition shows work that is created outside of the traditional gallery environment, attempts to break down the hierarchy of the contemporary art world/art education/art market, and rearranges the common gallery space onto the floor. A very special artist talk by Mouhou will be offered along with carpet weaving classes on wooden looms.
Then, the group will travel to Shipshewana, Indiana (Terra's hometown) via Amtrak where the carpet weavers will have quilt making classes with an Amish quilter and have a rest during a home stay in an Amish family.
Finally, the carpet weavers will continue to the Santa Fe International Folk Arts Market in New Mexico (application pending). They will exhibit and sell their carpets at the largest international folk arts market in the USA during the two day event with over 150 other artisans from all around the world.
Four weeks later, in mid-July and after the multi-city tour has been completed, the weavers and translators will return to their homes in Morocco just in time for the commencement of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting and prayer.
Terra Fuller was a US Peace Corps volunteer for 27 months in their village where she worked with the weaving association to develop its artisan and small business skills. She learned to speak Tashelheit and experienced deep friendships with the women. We have received partial funding from The Arts Council of New Orleans but in order to make these events happen, we need your financial and morale support! We already have passport fees, visa fees, international airfare, and lodging in New Orleans. The additional funding through Kickstarter will pay for lodging in Boston, carpet shipping, small daily stipend to the weavers, and ground (and some air) transportation between cities. I thank you and the weavers say, “Sa’ha bzaaf!!”
- (60 days)