I grew up with one foot in France and the other in Morocco. Badaoui, the title of this exhibition and my last name, means “desert dweller” in Arabic.
In 2014 while studying in Nantes at l’EDNA, I had an internship in San Francisco. Shortly after, I started CALICOUZ, a fashion line that combined traditional Moroccan clothes with California street style. A year later in 2015, I earned my Master’s degree in Interaction Design, specializing in New Eating habits. It was then that I changed the name to CALIKESH and moved to Los Angeles.
My beloved and I arrived in Yucca Valley in the winter of 2017. The CALIKESH logotype is written in Amazigh in honor of my Amazigh grandmother, Yamina. My grandfather, Abdelkader, was born in Oulad Attou, Sidi Hamadi. My grandparents, parents, my sister Mona and my beloved have largely informed who I am today. My environment has a big impact on my creativity. I see so many similarities between the California landscape, the Mojave desert, Coachella Valley, and Morocco. I transcribe these observations into my rugs.
In 2020, after a few years of drawing and organizing prototypes, I created the first CALIKESH rug. It represented the magic of the Mojave desert. CALIKESH is a bridge between California and Morocco using different mediums to express serenity without border. Without the magical talents of the weavers, my aunts and friends of the village, CALIKESH rugs would not be possible. I also collaborate with my father Rachid, who teaches me Amazigh and Arabic symbols. All CALIKESH rugs are handcrafted in Taznakht, Morocco where a portion of our family lives. CALIKESH rugs are made with high-quality wool and natural dyes on hand made looms. By purchasing CALIKESH rugs your money is direct aid to families in Northern Africa.
WHERE DO THE RUGS COME FROM? The Aït Ouaouzguite style of rug is the torch of the art of the women of Siroua. Adrar n’Siroua is a vast mountain range southwest of Ouarzazate. This range culminates in the ancient volcano Siroua at an altitude of 3,304 meters. Since ancient times, this region has been a transhumance territory inhabited by Amazigh tribes whose economy is based on pastoral activity. These Amazigh became known for the specificity of their sheep commonly called the Siroua sheep. This is a breed of sheep renowned for the quality of its uniform white or black wool with a fleece of long hair, smooth to the touch, clean and homogeneous. The quality of Siroua wool has made the carpets produced by the Amazigh women of the region famous. The rugs transmit the history of the region of Ouarzazate, Tamassine, Tidili, Aït Semgfane, Tazenakht, Aït Waya, Aït Douchen, Aït Ouagharda, Aït Ameur, Aït Zineb, Aït Makhlif. All the dyes used on our rugs are from the land surrounding the ancient volcano Siroua. Our weavers go early in the morning to pick flowers. The color orange is from the precious Safran, which grows in the volcanic soil of the region.