DUBAI: Here, Jordanian architect Ghada Kunash discusses her artisanal rug, shown at Dubai Design Week this month, in her own words.
I really like to focus on the traditional. Maybe that’s because of the history behind the land that I come from. This year, I thought it would be great to be able to shed a strong light on artisans in this trade fair.
Because of the situation in the Levant area, artisans cannot even afford their basic materials, let alone ship and market their products. People are leaving. When you lose the hand, you lose the craft. Those people are as important as preserving our language.
The concept of “Bsat” — which means ‘rug’ in Arabic — comes from the fact that weaving is a very important industry in our area. It requires a state of patience and it gives tranquility. It’s a kind of meditation for those who practice it.
The work was made by artisans across the region and assembled in Lebanon. The block printing was done by Syrians, and Palestinian ladies worked on the embroidery. The weaving was done by the Jordanian master weaver Ishraq Zraikat. I designed it and sponsored the whole project, but I insisted that we put all the names of those who worked on this piece very clearly on the map.
I wanted to show that the countries of this area all have the same traditional industries and that they can work together. The natural topographical, rather than the political, map of the area seemed like a really nice concept that transmits to the public what we wanted to say.
We added the national flower for each part of the Levant, like the black iris of Jordan, the anemone of Palestine, and the white jasmine of Syria. In Greater Syria, we are known for our olives and oranges, so we added their colors too.
People’s reaction to the work was very emotional. They were touched and wanted to understand why we used a map of the Levant. It’s the heart of the world, as I see it. It might be a biased point of view — but this is where I come from. We are the source of old civilizations and we need to celebrate that.