Alex Proba works with schoolgirls in Ghana to create rug collection

Portland-based designer Alex Proba’s Little Proba initiative partnered with the Toni Garrn Foundation to create colourful rugs through workshops in Ghanian schools, and in collaboration with Indian weavers

A grid of colourful rugs, from an initiative by Alex Proba, Little Proba and the Toni Garrn Foundation
As part of an initiative to encourage creativity, the designs of Ghanaian schoolgirls have been turned into colourful rugs
(Image credit: press)

Alex Proba, the Germany-born, Portland-based designer, has become known for her colourful compositions of abstract shapes, which she has applied to everyday household objects as well as murals and swimming pools. Most recently, they formed the starting point for an impressive installation throughout Miami’s Design District, unveiled during Design Miami 2021 (opens in new tab)

Alex Proba rugs by children

A grid of colourful rugs, from an initiative by Alex Proba, Little Proba and the Toni Garrn Foundation

(Image credit: press)

Little Proba is an initiative established in 2019, born of the designer’s creative workshops with children in Portland and New York, whose designs were turned into colourful rugs (opens in new tab); the aim is to encourage creativity and help children in need, through partnerships with charitable foundations including Save the Children and the Young Center for Children’s Immigrant Rights. The latest in a series of partnerships from Little Proba includes a collaboration with the Toni Garrn Foundation, working in Africa to provide opportunities for young girls and their communities. 

‘This first collaboration is just one in a long-term series of philanthropic initiatives we’ve planned to foster creativity in children and, in turn, help those in need across the globe,’ she says. ‘Little Proba works together with kids to educate them that art is a real thing and that anyone can create beauty.’

A grid of colourful rugs, from an initiative by Alex Proba, Little Proba and the Toni Garrn Foundation

(Image credit: press)

Proba and her team held a series of workshops across Ghana, working with girls from local schools to paint artworks for the project. Each design will be created as a poster or rug and all proceeds from the sales will go back to the girls. ‘By teaming up Little Proba with the Toni Garrn Foundation, Proba is able to show these young girls that we all have an artist inside of us, and when we are able to tap into that creativity, the power of art is boundless,’ explains a text presenting the project. 

The girls created colour compositions using abstract forms, symbols, geometric shapes, elements from nature and everyday objects. The bright colour compositions are pure expressions of the joy of creation and each girls’ unique approach to form and colour. 

An additional layer to the project is given by the group of women in India who regularly work with Proba to hand-weave her rugs. The final rugs are a symbol of female empowerment through art, design and craft. As the Toni Garrn Foundation motto reads: ‘Given a chance, girls can change the world.’

INFORMATION

studioproba.com (opens in new tab)

Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.