Berber Svenska

Berber Svenska Tent inspired by Nomadic tribes from North America by Karelle Levy

Displacement is the common theme for Jews of Europe and Africa. Mesmerized by the stories and yearning for the traditions of lands we could not know in person, Judeo-Arabic music and dance were the only connection that filled our home. The look and sound of belly dancers and Berber tribes were a fascinating discovery as were the mountains and the textile traditions of Sweden and Poland. Sun and wind protection of the Sahara and respite from the long Nordic winters were opposite ends of the spectrum for survival in these two regions, and our family home created the perfect blend of these cultures. 

computer generated symbols

Decades later we are here to build a “home,” inspired by the nomadic Berber tents seen along the trade routes of Northern Africa.  Through this patchwork of handmade textiles, we begin to stitch together the history and migration paths of my elders. My goal is to bridge the gaps of my own history, to unity the cultures that have touched my family, my core. Each piece is an important part of the puzzle that finally makes the story, the land, the history, the home… whole.

As a jew, both sides of my family were displaced from our native homes.  On my mother's side in Poland, they were forced out of their homes to ghettos and then into concentration camps.  The Holocaust ripped our family apart.  Left with nothing left of their past, both my grand mother and grand father fled to Sweden where they met and built their future.  My father and his family fled Tunisia, where being a jew they were treated as second rate citizens.  They came to Paris for refuge and a new life, where they could be treated as equals, there my parents met, fell in love, and later moved to Miami.  

karelle holding the first knit tapestry of her family's storyKarelle's first trial of her family's story

James Mann holding the structure he built out of Miami native bamboo for the Berber Svenska Tent
James built a roof frame out of Miami grown bamboo


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