SOCIAL ENTERPRISE ‘81 DESIGNS’ PRESENTS A NEW COLLABORATIVE COLLECTION WITH MOROCCAN ARTIST BOUCHRA BOUDOUA TO BE UNVEILED AT ABU DHABI ART IN NOVEMBER 2022

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‘Autumn Harvest’ by 81 Designs and Bouchra Boudoua conceives a fusion craft intertwining homelands, history, heart, and soul into a collection that unifies people across geographical boundaries

Abu Dhabi, UAE: UAE social enterprise 81 Designs and Moroccan artist Bouchra Boudoua will unveil a new collaborative collection at Abu Dhabi Art that is set to take place from 16 to 20 November 2022 at Manarat Al Saadiyat. The annual fair is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Office.

‘Autumn Harvest’ is a culmination of a seven-month project, ushering in a time to celebrate cultures through earthen elements and sustainable materials, and polished with sophisticated Moroccan pottery and Palestinian embroidery. Drawn into the therapeutic effect of pottery and ceramic’s humble material that can transform into shapes, Bouchra adds her signature asymmetrical patterns to the series of pots in the collection. The ceramics, ranging between 50 to 75 cm in height, were transported from Marrakech to Ain El-Hilweh refugee camp in Lebanon, where Palestinian refugee women skilfully used the intricate Tatreez embroidery method to stitch raffia fibre from a palm tree onto the surface — pushing the boundaries of traditional crafts while keeping the essence of handmade work that unifies geographies and humanity

Nadine Maalouf, Co-Founder of 81 Designs says: “We narrate the creative story of a time-honoured tradition in hopes of preserving our Arab heritage. Through our partnerships, we’re able to give Palestinian refugee artisans stable employment and help them rebuild their lives. Working with Bouchra Boudoua exemplifies both our commitment to community and the convergence of craft and design, uncovering the art of Tatreez in a different light.”

Moroccan artist Bouchra Boudoua, recounts, “When I was contacted by Nadine Maalouf to work on this project, I immediately said yes because I quickly sensed that 81 Designs shares similar craft values and craft preservation endeavours as mine. My work would not be possible without the magical work of the potters I work with here in Morocco. As such, a lot of what I do revolves around collaborations as pieces are handled by several hands throughout the process. When I learned about the work 81 Designs is doing with Tatreez, I was very keen on collaborating on my pieces in a similar way. I was interested in creating ceramic pieces that would act as a sort of shared canvas.”

“The pots were created by a group of seven potters and assistants and myself with an aim to leave space for pattern work in the form of Tatreez. I wanted to share a bit of what I do with these women by inviting them to explore patterns through the art of Tatreez on my pots. Using clay as an embroidery support meant a lot of careful planning and meticulous handling during the pottery-making stages. It also meant that we would have to push the boundaries of Tatreez by exploding cross stitches and working on different scales. The result of this ‘Autumn Harvest’ is a series of intricate, earthy coloured, ceramics created by a group of artisans in Morocco and embroidered by Palestinian refugee artisans in Lebanon,” she continues.

The ‘Autumn Harvest’ collection delves into the revolutionary use of traditional crafts – pottery and Tatreez embroidery – and reflects the desire to unite artists, artisans, makers, and designers to weave together design, craft, art, and culture.

About 81 Designs

81 Designs is a UAE-based social enterprise that brings both art and humanity together. In 2015, Nesrine El Tibi Maalouf and Nadine Y Maalouf founded 81 Designs with a group of refugee artisan women living in Ain El-Hilweh Camp in South Lebanon. The enterprise’s mission is to showcase their artisanal talents, restore hope in building their future, and preserve and modernise the ancient embroidery technique Tatreez. By providing employment opportunities, 81 Designs empowers and improves social and living conditions of these skilled refugee women.

About Bouchra Boudoua

Bouchra Boudoua graduated from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design with a BA in spatial design. She is an artist and designer based between Marrakech and Casablanca. Bouchra works from her creative studio in Marrakech where she collaborates with local potters to create both functional and decorative ceramics. In an aim to preserve certain age-old techniques of Moroccan craftsmanship she reinterprets traditional pottery to create pieces that simultaneously go back in time and live boldly in our modern-day homes. Her work is largely informed by the graphic information from her daily life in Morocco and from her travels around the country. Bouchra’s artistic practice is also a personal quest and inner search to connect with her roots and those of her ancestors. Always striving to find the balance between craft and design, her work echoes the naïve and simple aesthetic unique to the Moroccan south.