In Spring 2023, the acclaimed jewellery designer Alexandra Mor will launch her latest collection, the Jewels of the Sahel. It would not have been possible without the assistance of the First Lady of Niger’s Noor Foundation, who connected Alexandra with Local Tuareg Artisans. In this feature, we look at the story behind how this happened.
H.E. Khadija Bazoum, Niger’s First Lady and President of the Noor Foundation, learned about Alexandra Mor’s work with Balinese jewellers from Maria Nicoletta Gaida, President of the Rome-based Ara Pacis Initiatives for Peace. The First Lady agreed that Niger would be an ideal candidate for the next stage in Mor’s artistic journey and hosted the jewellery designer in the nation’s capital, Niamey.
Between 2016-2018, Alexandra Mor travelled across Bali, Indonesia, to connect with local artisans and fuse their traditional craftsmanship with sustainable, high-end jewellery design using a botanical alternative to ivory. The collaboration gave birth to a capsule collection of haute – couture jewellery that brought awareness to Bali’s indigenous cultures and supported the island’s local artisans.
The First Lady and Giada believed that Alexandra Mor could achieve similar results with the Tuareg community, a nomadic ethnic group with a rich tradition of craftsmanship stretching back to the 4th Century C.E.
Excited to find a focal point for the next chapter in her Journey’s Collection of haute-couture jewellery inspired by indigenous art and culture, Mor met with the leading Tuareg jewellery makers in Niamey. Her work aims to promote and preserve these communities’ traditional wisdom and culture, sharing it with humanity as a whole.
On September 8th, 2022, Alexandra travelled to Niger’s capital city of Niamey, where the First Lady’s Noor Foundation hosted her and Maria Nicoletta Gaida. The following week, Alexandra met with leaders from the Tuareg artisanal community to learn about their history and cultural identity.
The Tuareg artisans taught her their distinctive approach to jewellery making —including the materials, styles, and techniques they’ve employed for centuries. She also learned about their manufacturing and production capabilities, setting the stage for the second chapter in her Journey’s Collection: The Jewels Of The Sahel.
“I am humbled by the opportunity to work closely with the Tuareg artisan community of Niger,” says Mor. “We must know where we came from to know who we are. I hope to continue using my platform to amplify the voices of these ancient cultures. There is more to beauty than what we see with our eyes, and learning about the world’s heritage raises important questions about what it means to be human.”
The Jewels of the Sahel will be a one-of-a-kind and limited-edition capsule collection designed by Mor and entirely produced by Tuareg artisans of Niger. Mor is invited to return to the region in December 2022 to attend the Aïr festival, one of the most important Tuareg cultural celebrations. There, she will unveil her initial designs to the First Lady and the team of local jewellers. In the weeks that follow, she will work side-by-side with the artisans as they bring her designs to life.
Commenting on the Jewels of the Sahel project that is inscribed in the partnership between Ara Pacis and Noor Foundation, Maria Nicoletta Gaida, Founder and President of the Ara Pacis Initiative, said, “Acknowledgment and appreciation of the dignity and diversity of cultural heritage, and support for the progress and evolution of the arts, are crucial in addressing issues of security, stability, and peace.”
Mor intends to launch the Jewels of the Sahel collection in New York in the Spring of 2023. The Niger chapter will hopefully serve as a launching pad for further artistic initiatives within the framework of the partnership with the Noor Foundation and Ara Pacis.
For more about Alexandra Mor and to see her full range of jewellery, visit https://alexandramor.com/.
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