DESIGNEAST X Jaipur Rugs: A showcase for creative diplomacy

by Skene Fletcher

Five artists from the Middle East were paired with five weavers from Jaipur to create five distinctive textile artworks that express the spirit of creative democracy. The collection will launch during Art Week Dubai, at the Jaipur Rugs showroom in Alserkal Avenue - 29th February to March 4th. 

Founder + Creative Director of DESIGNEAST Rue Kothari says, “This represents a bold evolution for us since we launched at Alserkal Avenue last year. We wanted to offer artists a new creative experience. One that was authentic, honest and truly innovative. As a value driven platform, DESIGNEAST is committed to supporting artists and designers from the Global South. To discover a brand like Jaipur Rugs that is so aligned with our purpose was a gift. To bring this collaboration together, our artists, their weavers and expertise was even more enriching than we ever expected.”

Each artist was selected for their unique approach to their craft. Adrian Pepe (a Beirut-based fibre artist from Costa Rica); Noura Alserkal (a jewellery and scent designer from Dubai); Maryam Al Homaid ( a textile designer from Doha), Studio Bazazo (interiors and furniture designer from Lebanon) and Studio Rejo (a creative design duo from Palestine and Riyadh). 

They were all invited to respond to the theme What I believed / What I know now - that encouraged them to explore how they have been changed by a revolutionary thought, idea or event. The designs that have resulted from this are a true reflection of each artist’s personal experiences with nature, emotion, identity, sanctuary, displacement and family.

Based on their ideation, each artist was paired with a weaver from Aaspura, a village in the Aravalli Hills in Jaipur, just one of hundreds of craft clusters in India that owe their growing prosperity to the success of their partnership with Jaipur Rugs. Then in early February the designers travelled to the village to meet their artisanal counterparts: Studio Bazazo with Sushila, Maryam with Neha, Noura with Dahfli, Adrian with Priyanka and Reem with Pooja. 

What transpired was a real connection between artist and artisan, the culmination of two disparate lives joined together in one art piece. What the artist had imagined in the Middle East then interpreted by the perception of the weaver.

Yogesh Chaudhary, Managing Director of Jaipur Rugs says, “It is part of our creative agenda to work on collaborations such as this. Being able to showcase not only the sustainable and ethical way that we work with our craftspeople and employees but how important it is for us as a company to engage in projects that inspire and stimulate our weavers. We are dedicated to develop our connection with the Middle East creative community and to work with these five artists from the region has given us a beautiful way to extend our hand of friendship to the regional art and design industry.”