The First International Exhibition in Kuwait on Handmade Pray Carpets

The First International Exhibition in Kuwait on Handmade Pray Carpets

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

The First International Exhibition in Kuwait on Handmade Pray Carpets, 29 December 2013-9 January 2014 with participation of 12 Master Innovators specialized in handmade weaving of pray carpets from 12 different countries of the Muslim World.

The Kuwait Centre for Islamic Arts of the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs in the State of Kuwait and the Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and culture based in Istanbul (IRCICA) jointly organized the First International Exhibition in Kuwait on Handmade Pray Carpets, on 29 December 2013-9 January 2014 with participation of 12 Master Innovators specialized in handmade weaving of pray carpets from 12 different countries of the Muslim World.  The exhibition was marvelous and successful as were described by many VIP visitors and delegates.  It was unique as this the first time that an exhibition on pray Carpets been organized in OIC Countries.

Artisans were hailed from Central Asia, North Africa, Turkey and Iran along with their looms, instruments to give light on the techniques applied in weaving Pray Carpets.  Innovative artisans in this specific field of specialty came from Turkey, Iran, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Algeria, Mauritania and Beit al Sadou of the hosting country, State of Kuwait.  They displayed the most beautiful and well completed pieces of their handmade pray carpets.

Artisans along with their products were gathered under a traditional Tent with exhibition stand for every artisan who forms a kind of a craft village.  It was a unique opportunity for visitors to interact with the artisans and been educated about the various staged of applied techniques of natural dying, designing  and weaving as were applied at work which show various types of experiences which came from different geographical regions of the Muslim World.

Leading Media and Television institutions were presented with their daily reports and interviews with the artisans and the visitors taking their impressions about the exhibition and also to raise more awareness of the importance of this sector.

From Turkey Artisan Musa Basaran displayed his marvelous Carpet pieces in a stand which attracted many visitors.

Artisan Musa Kazim Basaran has been involved in Carpets and Kilim weaving and production since 1991.  Woven over 200 Carpets and kilims and he designed all the kilims that are produced for sale in his studio some are of Cushion size:  60-65 x 80-85 cm; Quarter size:   80-85 x 120-125 cm. (approximately 1 square meter); Prayer rug: 120-125 x 180-185 cm. (2 square meters); Karyola Size: 170-l80x   230x240 cm (4 squar meters).  Artisan Musa is a Turkish weaver, dyer, and designer of kilims. He describes the kilim as a flat-weave with patterns that traditionally depict a woman's lifespan. The motifs express their wishes and desires, their sorrow and happiness and protection from harm and many other lifetime experiences.  In 1991, Artisan Musa started weaving kilims and designing his own patterns. He usually weaves at night for 2-3 hours every day. The weaving sometimes serves as therapy for him. He said that at night when he weaves, "It is just my kilim, my thoughts in my head and my God." Some of the kilims he weaves take ten days and others two months. He learned the classical design patterns first and later created his own designs. All of his kilims are his favorites, but especially the multi-picture kilim.  Artisan Musa dyes the wool and silk himself in his studio in Istanbul. He has woven over 200 kilims himself .  The materials he uses are all natural: the silk he uses comes from Brazil and the dyes come from South and Central America. The studio is spread out between the main floor for weaving, the basement where the natural dye materials are kept and a rooftop terrace for drying. The top floor balcony overlooks the Sea of Marmara. He does not make all of the kilims himself in his studio. The wool he dyes is sent to a small village in Manisa, which is about 150 kilometers from Izmir, in southwestern Turkey, to be made into kilims by weavers there.  Musa has been practicing this art for the last 20 years. And surprisingly, unlike other craftsmen, the art of making kilim has not been a family business for him.  He was granted with the first Prize in the field of Carpets and Kilims (US$5,000/-) of the Muscat International Award for Innovation and Creativity in Crafts which was organised within the Muscat International Festival for 2011.

Artisan AJAP BAYRIYEVA, Turkmenistan, worked on weaving carpets and rugs with her Mother.  She is a famous carpet-weaver in Turkmenistan.  Her carpets are well known all over the world, because her Father Juma Redjepov – a rug designer worked at the Turkmen carpet factory more than 40 years.  She learned the carpets technique since the time of her childhood.  At present she worked at the National Turkmen Carpet Museum as a specialist of Turkmen carpets and national costume. Ph.D. in Ethnology, Institute of History, Turkmen Academy of Sciences. (1976-1986); Postgraduate Diploma, Institute of History, Turkmen Academy of Sciences, Ashgabat (1981-85). Professional Qualifications: Member of the International Association of the Connoisseurs of Turkmen Carpets. Employment Record: 2008 - 2013     Head of the Department “Turkmen hand-made carpet weaving”, National Turkmen Carpet Museum, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. 2007 - 2008     Main research specialist “Turkmenhaly” State joint-stock corporation. Have organised three International Carpet conferences (May, 2007. February 2008. May 2008). Published  popular articles about the Turkmen national costume and the Turkmen carpets and rugs. Worked at the carpet storage of the Turkmen museum, where analysed 1023 carpets and rugs. Participated at the international Fair in Hanover (Germany) DOMOTEX-2008; 2002 -2004      Leading research specialist, Department of Turkmen handmade carpet weaving, and “Turkmenhaly” State joint-stock corporation.  Responsibilities include researching the history of Turkmen carpets, origins of ancient and modern ornamental motifs; publishing scientific articles; organising and attending conferences; visiting local sources to search for ethnographical materials about Turkmen culture, traditions and handicrafts. 1994 – Feb 1998  Senior Research Officer, Institute of History, Turkmen Academy of Sciences, Ashgabat; 1981 – 1993   Research Officer, Institute of History, Turkmen Academy of Sciences, Ashgabat; 1977 – 1981  Junior Research Assistant, Institute of History, Turkmen Academy of Sciences, Ashgabat.  Research activities: Assembled a large, original collection of slides and archival pictures of Turkmen national costume and of ancient and modern Turkmen carpets and rugs.  Assisted the German scholar Peter Hoffmeister to write the introduction to the Catalogue of the Tenth International Conference on Oriental Carpets (ICOC X) in Washington D.C. (2003) ¾ specifically, the part dealing with the Turkmen Engsi. Conference Participation:  Participated on the 31st Turkmen yearly Meeting in Hamburg. October, 2010; Organized International Conference of the Connoisseurs of Turkmen Carpets  in Ashgabat 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013; International Conference on “Historical and Cultural Heritage of peoples of Turkmenistan and the East in world civilization”, October 16-18, 2002, Ashgabat;• 2nd International Conference of the Connoisseurs of Turkmen Carpets, May 25, 2002, Ashgabat; 3rd International Conference of the Connoisseurs of Turkmen Carpets, May 24, 2003, Ashgabat;  Several International scientific conferences and Inter-regional symposiums of Central Asia; Exhibition/sale of Central Asian handicrafts “Bringing Traditions into Today's World”, May 1998, Almaty, Kazahstan; Participant in a panel discussion in Berlin, Germany, 1994; Participant in a panel discussion to deliver a lecture as part of a symposium offered in conjunction with the exhibition “From Desert and Oasis: Arts of the People of Central Asia”, Athens, GA; Travelled throughout the United States speaking to various Rug societies and other interested groups in Charleston, SC; New York City, NY; San Francisco, CA;  Tucson, AZ; Cleveland, OH;  Washington D.C.  (1998, February-March) Publications.  The author of numerous books, articles and theses on many aspects of Turkmen rugs and national costume, the role and the position of Turkmen women in society. 

Artisan Amal al Saghiouri from Morocco who has long experience in this field and chairing Al Azhar Cooperative for weaving and marketing carpets which include 70 women’s working in this field.  She participated in many workshops in the field of weaving textiles and carpets and obtained many awards from exhibitions like the Tanja one, Sala and Casablanca in addition to ones held in Barcelona.

Artisan and designer Najet Salem, Head of free hands association in Qafsa city, which focus on developing craft ladies in rural areas around Gafsa.  She was one of the distinguish artisans in the field of Tunisian Margum during her participation in the 30th session of the Tunisia Creativity Salon for Artisanat which was organized by ONA, Al Karam Exhibition Palace, Tunis on 15- 24 March 2013.  In 2011 she was granted with a Diploma in space design with a focus on interior décor from the High Institute for arts and Crafts in Gafsa.  She participated in many national and international exhibitions organized in different Tunisians Wilayats.  She also participated in Marseille Exhibition and a Tunisian Textile exhibition in Holland.  Now she is preparing to participate in the International Crafts Exhibition to be held in Italy this year.  Among the training courses which she conducted to train artisans the one organized by UNIDO and International Labor Organization which aimed to prequalify lady artisans in the field of handmade textiles which was conducted at the ONA Office in Gafsa.

Artisan Safiya Safi from Algeria who is specialized in the field of weaving carpets for nearly 15 years.  Participated in many national and international exhibitions like the Crafts Exhibition of Casablanca in 2013 and the Annual Salon for Handicrafts of Algeria in 2013.

Artisan Taslam Ment Tahman from Mauritania who obtained her techniques in this field from her mother since 2001.  She also obtained another training course in weaving Carpets in 2004 with the Mauritanian Institution for Textiles along with an advanced one in 2008 with the same institution.

Artisan Fatima Aghamirzayeva from Azerbaijan, who started to weave carpets in 1968 when she was 15 years old.  She learned the techniques of preparing natural dyes and woven around 20 carpets up to now. Her main aim is to bring back the part of fairy history of Azerbaijan with the aim of preserving the old tradition of all minority groups living in the country.  This in addition to raise the interest of youth to pay attention to this part of their heritage.  She started training courses for teaching this technique and since 1990 she teached more than 100 women the techniques of weaving carpets.  Participated in many national and international exhibitions inside Azerbaijan and abroad.

Artisan Mitra Razavi from Sirjan, Iran who was teached the techniques of weaving carpets from her mother.  She has long experience in this field and participated in many regional and international exhibitions in the field of Carpet making.

Artisan Mamajan Radjapova from Uzbekistan who works on weaving carpets since 1988 and obtained the first Award in 1999 among Karakalpak pray carpets artists.  She received also the first Award of the “Idea Home” in Almaty, Kazakhstan during the years 2006 and 2007.  Participated in many national and international exhibitions like the ones in Munich, 2007 and San-Tefe New Mexico during the years of 2009, 2010 and 2011.

Artisan Nurbyubyu Maripova from Khyrghyzstan, artisan of Leilek, the most remote part of the southern and mountainous Kyrgyzstan.  Being age ten, she was helping her mother and grandmother to weave carpets.  From early childhood Nurbyubyu got involved in carpet weaving, which developed the character traits such as diligence, patience.  Today, she heads the cooperative "Asan - Noor", which employs 16 home-based workers.  Weave carpet is very hard work, and in particular the preparation of thread: buy good wool 200 -300 kg, sort out, wash, dry and comb, then in the manual or on the spinning wheel to spin wool and only then begin to weave.

Artisan Zakariya Abu Sada from Egypt who was working on weaving carpets at the workshop of his father since 1985.  He used silk and woll in his carpets and he participated in amny exhibitions in Cairo.

Al Sadou House in Kuwait, chaired by Sheikha Altaf Salem Al Sabah which is specialised in Bedouin weaving and provide assistance for Kuwaiti artisans to advance their weaving techniques and market their products as well.

With this in mind and due to prayer rugs’ significance to all Muslims, the 6th Kuwait International Islamic Arts Convention, currently being held dedicated this year;s cicle of the exhibition to handmade pray rugs and carpets artistically woven by artisans from various parts of the Islamic World – from Morocco in the far west of Africa to Azerbaijan, Khyrghyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan in central and eastern Asia.

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