Berber rugs by Aït Khebbach weavers go on show in a temporary exhibition, curated by Christine Bouilloc and Arnaud Maurières, at Musée Yves Saint Laurent, Marrakech.
Over the past century, most collections of tribal weavings in Morocco belonged to dealers, who themselves bought from runners, who frequented villages to negotiate prices with the weavers’ husbands: women had no contact with buyers. As a result, from collection to collection, from publication to publication, the strangest information came to circulate about the origin, meaning of patterns, manufacture and use of these weavings.
Having collected since the 1990s, Arnaud Maurières and Eric Ossart discovered the exceptional rugs of the Aït Khebbach community quite randomly, during a trip to Morocco’s eastern desert in December 2010. Thanks to their friend Lahcen Aït Khouya and his family, they crossed this region and met weavers in person. Upon interviewing them, they discovered that they only began weaving rugs very recently, in the 1990s, after a long drought compelled nomads in the region to settle. Then, because the women did not have any tents to make or repair, they started creating rugs for their families to sleep on. For these, they invented patterns in an unusual mix of colours and materials with a true passion for rug making and a sense of creative competition.
In 2012, in collaboration with the Musée Bargoin in Clermont-Ferrand, a campaign for Maurières and Ossart’s rug collections began and information and photographs of them were circulated. In 2014, the first ‘Morocco, Colours of the Desert’ exhibition was presented in France, followed by Spain and Switzerland. Meanwhile in the desert, Arnaud, Eric and Lahcen continued to add to their collection, discovering new villages, meeting all sorts of different weavers and acquiring beautiful and astoundingly modern rugs. In February 2017, Pierre Bergé gave the collectors the opportunity to showcase the rugs in a new exhibition at the Musée YSL in Marrakech. Showing until 9 October 2019, the exhibition unveils the identity of the Moroccan weavers and highlights their incredible creativity by presenting thirty exceptional pieces in an original show with scenography by the designer Younes Duret.
The HALI Tour ‘Carpets & Textiles of Morocco’, 28 September – 7 October 2019 will include a private view of the show before a special evening lecture, hosted in co-operation with the Association des Amis de la Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent, by one of the foremost collectors of Moroccan carpets of recent decades, the German architect Jürgen Adam. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.