“Boucharouette” or “boucherouite” carpets and rugs are specific to Moroccan tribes.
n these, often very modest, households, the Berbere women weave carpets out of discarded scraps of material. A thousand scraps of cotton, nylon and occasionally wool are woven into these fabulous decorative creations.
The contrast between the poverty of the materials used and the richness of the final composition adds to these awe-inspiring works of modern art.
Until recently these rag rugs were of no commercial value, they were not even exposed by the souk shopkeepers, yet an interest has been born and has spread from Europe to the USA and Japan.
The sheer honesty of these artistic creations, their bright colours, their lyrical abstract movements and their modest prices are of great interest to the younger generation who appreciate their authenticity and aesthetic value.
These tapestries draw one into a visual dream world, where there are no pre-defined limits, where the suggested forms could continue to infinity beyond the frame.
We become stirred by such carpets, moved by the knowledge that they were never conceived as artwork, developed at the whim of its weaver and influenced by the buried memories of their ancestors. Each work has elevated, in a surprising manner, from its ethnic origins to reach an expression of universal beauty.
Contrary to most European weaving techniques, based on preconceived patterns; the Berbere women weave through movement of their fingers, with no drawings or predefined designs, exactly as the different brushworks create a painting. This is how each “boucharouette” tapestry becomes a unique work of art and how the limitless sensitivity of the Berbere women can be expressed with no premeditation.
The cultural influences of these Berbere women can be traced back to the dawn of time; the ever-present diamond motif has existed since Neolithic times. These works reveal traces of thousand-year-old civilisations, revealing signs and symbols of even more distant history. One can equally find apparent the results of the mixing of the Berbere and African cultures, combined with the ancestral caravans of the Sahara and Sudan.
As Frederic DAMGAARD notes, in his excellent book “Tapis et tissages, l’art des femmes berbères au Maroc”, it is judicious to compare the tapestry work of the Berbere women to a musical instrument: “It is easy to compare a Berbere woman in front of her loom, to a pianist in front of his piano. Both compose a beautiful melody, with rhythms and harmonies, with colours and notes. Their scores remain flexible leaving space for personal improvisation. Both have access to large repertoires that can be interpreted according to personal whim and sensitivity.
Art is not only for painters and sculptors; many tribal objects evoke our senses, and can be considered as works of art. The Museum of Early Art in Paris has created new perspectives for these amateurs of tribal art, in which symbolism, graphics and range of colour bring out their universal value of beauty.
It is fascinating to state how the strong and sublime graphics of these Berbere carpets and rugs has inspired many modern artists. It will always be astounding to notice the same notes that run through Berbere carpets apparent in the works of KANDINSKY, KLEE, MONDRIAN, POLLOCK, or many other abstract artists.
It is for many reasons that we have fallen in love with these boucharouettes and we wish to contribute to their discovery by amateur collectors.
We do our modest part in the knowledge that these woven works of art have been recognised by specialists, gallery owners and museum curators.
GALERIE THANAKRA – PARIS – expo 2006 et 2009
BLAZEL GALLERY – GRAZ Autriche – Mai 2010
CAVIN-MORRIS GALLERY – NEW YORK – expo Mai-Juillet 2010
DOUGLAS HYDE GALLERY- DUBLIN , Ireland November 2010- January 2012
GALERIE JEANNE BAYOL- ST REMY DE PROVENCE France - June-Augut 2012