Portraits Painted on Rugs Combine Urban and Ancient

Portraits Painted on Rugs

Mateo is a Montreal-based french artist who turns traditional oriental area rugs into contemporary art by spray-painting women’s portraits upon them in his series titled Faces of Tradition.

Portraits Painted On Rugs: Faces of Tradition by Mateo

Portraits Painted On Rugs: Faces of Tradition by Mateo
ARIJA, Painting on Carpet, 220x150cm⁠

Mateo’s painted rugs juxtapose traditional and symbolic motifs with contemporary depictions of feminine features, combining urban art with ancient culture.

painted carpets by mateo
ACHU, painting on carpet, 220x150cm⁠
mateo painted rugs
ACHU (detail), painting on carpet, 220x150cm⁠
daralu rug by mateo
DARALU, Painting on Carpet, 220x150cm⁠
detail of Daralu painted in a rug
DARALU (detail), Painting on Carpet, 220x150cm⁠

The artist’s intent behind this series of artworks is to force us to question our cultural identity and universal consciousness in a relentless system that pushes for uniformity and homogeneity in contemporary mass culture.

mateo painting Yegane
The artist at work on YEGANE
mateo painted rug
YEGANE, painting on carpet, 220x150cm⁠

The artist uses both spray paint and stencils as well as brushes on the rugs which measure either 225 x 150cm or 200 x 100cm.

painted portrait rug
The artist at work on YULIA
art on rugs
YULIA (detail), painting on carpet, 220x150cm⁠

“By adding a human side to traditional weavings, these works touch our deepest being, our universal consciousness, they question our cultural identity which is currently cannibalised by uniformisation and mass culture. We could call this the loss of tradition in Western societies, we lose the link with ancestral knowledge, the wisdom of our elders and the transmission of their knowledge” (Mateo)

hand painted oriental rugs
Sadie and detail, painting on carpet, 220x150cm⁠
mateo faces of tradition
SERIYAH, Spray Paint on Carpet, 225×150 cm
mateo rug at galeries bartoux
FSARARA, Spray Paint on Carpet, 200×100 cm
faces of tradition Mateo
NEELA KAMAL, paint on carpet, 220x150cm

A street artist as well, Mateo has also painted murals for his Faces of Tradition series.

faces of tradition mural
Mateo’s first Faces of Tradition street mural, Toronto, 2019

The video below was shot during the creation process for an exhibition at Art Basel Miami.

Video: vimeo.com/pampastudio
Music: Araguaya Meraki Octo&Shark – Bruxelles à Minuit


Follow Mateo on Instagram @mateo_wallpainter

Mateo is represented by Galeries Bartoux where you can find several of these.