Meriem Mihammou learnt how to weave from her mother. In her rugs she combines traditional motifs with computer-generated designs that reflect the process of rug making.
At Marrakech Carpet Fair in December 2022, Meriem Mihammou exhibited a surprising set of six hand-knotted rugs weaving traditional Moroccan motifs into contemporary art. The weaver and designer recalls her mother making rugs for domestic use on an upright loom at home during her childhood in Ouarzazate. ‘Weaving was like a ritual,’ she says. ‘Women came together to prepare the warp threads.’
She learnt how to weave from her mother but, during her studies at the Academy of Traditional Arts in Casablanca, her designs took a departure from strictly traditional motifs. She considered how a rug reflects the life, heritage and aspirations of the woman that created it and, in her computer-generated designs, she makes such women visible, depicting their heads, while still keeping their faces obscured by patterns recognisable from rugs from the regions of Ait Ouaouzguite, Beni Mguild, Beni Ouarain and Rabat.
‘I try to reflect my personality in my rugs,’ Mihammou says, ‘my Amazigh roots and family traditions.’ She sources her wool from markets in Taznakht or Marrakech, and her work is now on show at the new Centre of Contemporary Art in Tangiers until June 2023.