Traditional Moroccan pottery and Palestinian Tatreez come together at Abu Dhabi Art


Abu Dhabi, UAE: UAE-based social enterprise 81 Designs and Moroccan artist Bouchra Boudoua unveil a fusion craft combining traditional Moroccan pottery and Palestinian Tatreez (cross stitch) at Abu Dhabi Art. The embroidered ceramics are showcased at CP 8 – Auditorium in Manarat Al Saadiyat at the fair, which opens to the public today until 20 November 2022.

Autumn Harvest’ is a collection of intricate, earthy coloured ceramic pieces jointly made to preserve time-honoured artistic traditions. It reflects the desire to unite makers and artisans to create art together. The process entailed clay moulding and design by the artist and local potters in Morocco, before transporting them to Ain El-Hilweh refugee camp in Lebanon, where the Palestinian refugee women, employed by 81 Designs, skilfully embroidered the ceramics using raffia fibre. Seven months in the making, the collaboration is an ode to the union of cultures across borders through the revolutionary use of traditional skills and sustainable materials. 

Today from 3:00 to 3:45 pm at the Round Theatre, Nadine Maalouf, co-founder of 81 Designs, and Bouchra Boudoua will join a panel to discuss “Social Enterprise through Artisans.” They will be joined by Mourad Ben Ayed, Strategist for purpose-led organisations, Conceived Weaving Alliances; and Achenyo Idachaba-Obaro, Social Entrepreneur. The panel discussion is part of the Abu Dhabi Art’s Talks programme featuring a series of engaging cultural talks given by curators and artists, as well as the heads of the UAE’s art institutions and other eminent art professionals.

81 Designs’ mission is to preserve and modernize Tatreez, an ancient embroidery technique, while empowering refugee women with employment opportunities. The social enterprise curates each project every year in collaboration with an artist from the Middle East and North Africa region. It provides artists with a platform to present their work in a different medium. For more information, please contact @81DesignsME on Facebook / Instagram / its official website

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. Our collaborations can be viewed on both our social media channels @81DesignsME on Facebook Instagram and official website

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. Instagram: bouchraboudoua