Journey to the heart of the art of Moroccan embroidery

Until July 16, 2023, the Institut du Monde Arabe hosts the exhibition “Tarz. Embroidering in Morocco, yesterday and today”. It offers exceptional collections of Moroccan embroidery highlighting the specificities of the cities and regions that have participated in the development of this art. The Institute of the Arab World (IMA) honors Moroccan embroidery in all its forms through the exhibition entitled “Tarz. Embroidering in Morocco, yesterday and today”. This presents, according to the cultural institution, the exceptional collections of Moroccan embroidery from the Angoulême Museum, mainly from the former Prosper Ricard collection, but also contemporary creations that interact with traditional works. It offers an enchanting journey in this delicate and demanding art, refined and intimate, which has undergone various influences and mutations over time. It shows original creations imagined by the artist Fatima Lévèque and produced alongside her by two Moroccan workshops, making this exhibition a fruitful dialogue between heritage collection and contemporary creation. “In the footsteps of the precious guide that is Prosper Ricard, through the pieces of his collection kept at the Angoulême Museum – sometimes simple fragments – I have dissected, studied, documented, learned. To search, analyze, classify, compare, I went in search of his own sources to find points that he had not had time to study. I immersed myself, my nights populated by the embroidered treasures of the Ottoman, Arab-Andalusian, Moroccan-Berber arts, and so many others that have nourished and enriched the repertoire and the techniques”, indicates the artist designer Fatima Lévèque in the catalog of the exhibition. To show its richness and diversity, this artist explains that she starts from fragments to revive the entire piece, such as the hammam shawl of Meknes, but also to create new pieces in a contemporary approach to find the technique of a missing point or the style of a school. “This way of proceeding made it possible to approach a heritage, stylistic and technical approach with the embroiderers engaged in Morocco by my side. Although it was unfortunately able to confirm the disappearance of a good deal of knowledge, this project enabled the embroiderers to find some of it, even to surpass it, as for the creation of the hanging garden,” she adds. The exhibition “Tarz, Embroidering in Morocco, yesterday and today” indeed offers visitors an unprecedented discovery of the specificities of the cities and regions which have, through the ages, participated in the emergence and evolution of embroidery. Morocco, namely Fez, Rabat, Salé, Azemmour, Chaouen, Tetouan, Meknes, Tafilalt and the Anti-Atlas. Embroidery is a universal art, mainly practiced by women, to enhance the luxury of clothing and interiors. A work of patience and rigor, it relies as much on manual skill as on artistic intuition and rational thought. “In Morocco, embroideries play a major role in visual culture. They seduce with their subtle nuances, their rhythmic harmonies and the strength that emerges from their compositions, specific to each city or region”, concludes the IMA.