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"Rum, Rhum, Ron! A…

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Moroccan Carpet Weavers to Present Weaving Workshops, Carpet Exhibition and Public Presentation at Ashe Cultural Arts Center

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact:
Viola T. Johnson
Communications/Public Relations
Ashé Cultural Arts Center
(504) 813-9008

Moroccan Carpet Weavers to Present Weaving Workshops, Carpet Exhibition
and Public Presentation at Ashe Cultural Arts Center

New Orleans, LA - The Moroccan Carpet Caravan 2012 brings two Tamazight carpet weavers and their translator from the Valley of the Roses in Morocco to the Ashe Cultural Arts Center in New Orleans from June 25-29, 2012, the first of four stops on a North American tour of carpet art events.

The weavers will teach carpet weaving workshops on traditional wooden looms built especially for the occasion, present a colorful carpet exhibition, and offer a cross-cultural presentation. The workshop will teach basic weaving skills in the indigenous traditions of North Africa not offered anywhere else in the United States. Students will weave their own rag rug with the visiting Moroccan instructors on M-F June 25-29, 9:00 - 4:00, limited enrollment, $100/per person. Email violatjohnson@gmail.com for more information and to sign up. A free public presentation about Amazigh culture and traditions with Moroccan mint tea takes place on Thursday, June 28, 7:00 pm. The carpet exhibition opening and sale begins Thursday, June 28, 8:00 pm. Weavers receive 100% of the sale price of the carpet.

Amazigh culture, often known as Berber to Westerners, refers to the indigenous people living across North Africa for over 3,000 years and is distinct from the Arabic culture and language. Mouhou Boussine, Course Instructor (above)

This project directly links African American artists in New Orleans to North African Muslim artists, encouraging dialogue and cross cultural exchange. Though weaving of a European heritage is practiced in New Orleans and elsewhere in the United States, there is little knowledge or materials to weave in the North African and Middle Eastern style on vertical looms. This is an exciting chance to introduce a new art form into New Orleans that expands on the rich textile culture in the city.

Moroccan carpets are incredible works of art, created entirely by hand with eco-friendly materials such as recycled clothes, thread from worn out sweaters, natural dyes, and handspun wool from their flocks with contrasting elements of bright fluorescent synthetic yarns, threads and sequins. The carpets often contain tribal symbols, abstract geometric designs, and a variety of weaving techniques. Current political situation across North Africa makes this cultural exchange especially relevant right now.

Moohou Boussain is the course instructor. She is the President of Association Assif, a rural association of carpet weavers in the South of Morocco. She has been a weaver for over fifty years, has served as President of the weaving association for over 5 years and is a community leader and role model for women and girls. She has traveled all over Morocco to craft fairs to sell the association carpets and regularly meets with Moroccan government officials and teaches workshops. The second weaver teaching the workshops will be Kibira Ait Karrou. Also an accomplished weaver, her specialty is natural dyes and traditional blankets. Because they speak Tashelheet, one of the indigenous languages of Morocco, a translator will also accompany them. Malika Boutbouk is a Language and Cultural Facilitator with the US Peace Corps Morocco and speaks fluent Moroccan Arabic, Classical Standard Arabic, Tashelheit, English and French. Malika has extensive experience facilitating cross-cultural dialogue between Americans and Moroccans.

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