"Our job is to find extraordinary things from extraordinary people."
Ayman and Youssef are behind Benisouk, their travels through Morocco and its souks have forged a strong relationship between them and the country's Artisan. These Moroccan Berber young women have learned to appreciate the craftsmanship of the cultures to which they belong, admiring its history and emphasizing its purity and naturalness, far from the mentality of European style.
How did Benisouk's adventure begin?
Ayman: From a nomadic Berber family. We inherited a sumptuous know-how passed-on from one generation to another with ardor and passion. Artistic values that have shaped our authenticity, originality, and identity. My discovery of the beautiful things of this world began about 15 years ago with my travels through Morocco. I was looking in everyday life for individually handmade objects with their own stories, with materials that will make you happy. This led me on a journey which led to the birth of Benisouk, about 2 years ago.
What attracts you to handicrafts?
Ayman: Everything. The colours, shapes, material and people behind it.
What is your job? How do you carry out the parts selection process?
Youssef: I think that the particularity of my work is to travel through souks and villages deep within the Berber regions to find extraordinary things from extraordinary people. I decided to follow the way of my ancestors making and finding objects which are both sublime and useful in everyday life, made by the caring hands of artisans using methods passed down the generations.
Tell us about the artisans, where do they get their inspiration from?
Youssef: Berber life is centred around resourcefulness and pragmatism. These artisans, both women and men, use the materials provided freely by nature to create treasures to make life more comfortable for themselves or to trade. Many of them cannot imagine the type of modern house which their masterpieces are associated with. The engravings featured on these pieces are very old and can also be found in many of the region's old decorations. All patterns have a meaning.
Do you think that Moroccan art is experiencing a new golden age?
Youssef: we think that more people are getting tired of industrial products. People are looking for unique pieces that tell a real story. And the Berber artisans know how to tell stories through their creations.
What do you think a Moroccan décor can bring to a room?
Ayman: I think it can provide a little joyful centrepiece, full of stories.
In what types of environment do you think this type of setting is best suited?
Ayman: I first saw them in Berber houses as an object of practical use and found them to look great. Then I came to see them in very modern houses combined with products from other cultures! It is always beautiful to see an interior rich with emotions and passion.
Where do you see yourself in the future? Are you looking for new handmade products for Benisouk?
Youssef: What we would really like to do is to focus more on the development of Berber know-how. We want artisans to be able to fully enjoy their lives without worrying about the basic needs that remain inaccessible even today for some of them. We work with these artists to revive traditional art and give new life to those who have suffered the vagaries of the evolution of human societies in economic and social terms.