Event: Tribal Art London 2017

Event dates: 6 – 9 September 2017

Tribal Art London will mark its tenth year when it opens to the public on 6 September 2017 at the Mall Galleries, London.  Indigenous and tribal art and artefacts, no longer the preserve of museum curators and ethnographers, have emerged as an important element of today’s art market.  In 2007, London gallerist Bryan Reeves brought together several like-minded dealers from the international tribal art scene to create the UK’s first-ever specialist event in this field.  It has grown significantly to become a vibrant fair with 23 participants from the UK, Europe, Africa and the USA.

Tribal Art London is a focal point for art collectors, and has made its mark on the international fair circuit by offering an exciting diversity of works for sale, as well as hosting lectures and talks on many subjects relating to indigenous cultures. Tribal Art London 2017 will have a special focus on the art of tattooing and the organisers are pleased to announce that Martin Poole, a leading traditional tattooist and expert in hand-worked body art, will be present at the fair to give demonstrations of this ancient skill.

New exhibitors in 2017 include Frans Faber (Netherlands) with fine tribal arts from Indonesia, Oceania and Africa; Mark Eglington (New York); John-Paul Raad (London) with art of the Niger River region; and Emmanuel Amelot of Belgium.  They join regulars such as OATG member Joss Graham (London) with traditional textiles, costume, sculpture, ceramics, baskets and jewellery; Sam Handbury-Madin (UK) a young dealer with a fascination for tribal works from every culture; Louis Nierijnck (Netherlands) with tribal art, textiles and adornment from Africa, the Himalayas and Southeast Asia; Marcuson & Hall (Brussels), with a particular interest in fibre works and textiles from Asia and Africa; Raccanello Tribal Art (UK) with Polynesian art, and Charles Vernon-Hunt (UK), specialist in tribal art books.

The UK organisers of Tribal Art London are Adam Prout of Adam Ethnographic Art, with tribal art and artefacts from all regions of the globe, and Bryan Reeves of Tribal Gathering, expert in African tribal art and adornment.

Admission is free.

For more information, visit the Tribal Art London website.

Event: Tour of the Exhibition ‘Embroidered Bodies – Garments, Stitches and Stories from the Ashmolean Museum’ with Curator Aimée Payton

Event date: Saturday 15 July 2017

Clothing tells a multitude of human stories, each embroidered stitch contributing to the tale. The exhibition introduces the Ashmolean’s diverse textile collections through a selection of exquisitely crafted garments, expressing themes of personal identity, local tradition and international trade.

The exhibition, curated by the OATG’s chairperson, Aimée Payton, includes a selection of garments drawn from the Eastern and Western textile collections of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. Objects on view include a diverse range of garments from hats to shoes, stomachers to collars, dating from as far back as the 1400s right up to the twentieth century.

Location: Broadway Museum & Art Gallery, Tudor House, 65 High Street, Broadway, WR12 7DP.

Time: Meet at 2.30 pm for a 3 pm start.

Cost: Discounted entrance fee £4.

Please bring the money in cash on the day so that we can collect the entrance fee before entering the museum together as a group! We will meet in front of the main entrance.

Advanced registration is essential. Please book your place on the Eventbrite page.

Event: Block Printing Study Day at the Joss Graham Gallery

Event date: Saturday 15 July 2017

John Gillow, well known author and authority on world textiles and Sevanti Roy, textile designer and practitioner, will share their expertise with discussion, demonstrations and practical workshops.

Try your hand at block printing!
10am – 1pm morning session (demonstration and practical workshop with Sevanti Roy)
2pm – 3pm talk by John Gillow
3pm – 6pm afternoon session (demonstration and practical workshop with Sevanti Roy)

Cost £45 per session. All materials supplied.
Places are limited, so booking is essential. Call or email the gallery to book a place (see details below).

JOSS GRAHAM GALLERY
10 Eccleston Street, London, SW1W 9LT
tel: 020 7730 4370
info@jossgraham.com

News: Spring-cleaning India’s Most Magnificent Tent

For those of you who might have missed it, Asian textiles got into the news last month when a royal Rajasthani tent was cleaned for the first time in over three hundred years. A totally unique textile, made in imperial workshops from red silk velvet and gold, unfurled it stands four metres high – as high as a London double-decker bus. It’s known as the Lal Dera, or the Shahi Lal Dera – the Royal Red Tent, and is believed to have been the home of Shah Jahan, the Mughal emperor who built the Taj Mahal.

To read the article in full, visit the BBC website.

Exhibition: Hidden in the Lining – Krishna in the Garden of Assam, the Tales of Two Textiles

Exhibition dates: 17 April – 3 Sepember 2017

A partnership exhibition created between Chepstow Museum and the British Museum explores the origins, stories and meanings of woven silk temple textiles from seventeenth-century north-east India. A stunning example is from Monmouthshire Museums’ own collections – an elegant eighteenth-century gentleman’s dressing gown, its magnificent lining made from this rare group of Assamese textiles – only about twenty examples survive today.

They are known as Vrindavani Vastra, which means the cloth of Vrindavan, a forested region in north India where the Hindu god Krishna is believed to have lived as a young cowherd early in his eventful life. Dramatic scenes from Krishna’s life are woven into these vibrant strips of cloth. The same scenes feature in dance dramas performed with elaborate masks that are still distinctive to the region. Masks made by monks and textiles have been loaned by the British Museum, and two beautifully illustrated pages from the finest Assamese manuscript in the British Library are also in the exhibition. The scene is set with some stunning film made in Assam featuring the masked dramas in preparation and performance. (A Textile Society grant made the exhibition of the gentleman’s ‘banyan’ possible.)

This exhibition is taking place at Chepstow Museum, Chepstow, Monmouthshire, NP16 5EZ.

Open: Monday to Sunday, 11–4.

For more information, visit the website of Chepstow Museum.

Exhibition: Chintz – Cotton in Bloom

Exhibition dates: 11 March – 10 September 2017

The Museum of Friesland in Leeuwarden presents a major exhibition of its extensive and well-preserved collection of chintz: the shiny, floral, hand-painted cotton from India that conquered sixteenth-century Europe. The beautiful patterns feel familiar while at the same time convey a special story. Objects displayed range from skirts, jackets, sun hats and regional clothing to wall hangings and blankets. The exhibition Chintz  Cotton in Bloom takes the visitor on a journey from India to Hindeloopen, Indonesia and Japan.

Chintz  Cotton in Bloom shows the wide variety of colourful floral patterns on skirts and jackets, as well as huge wapenpalempores (bedspreads larger than 3.5 x 2.5 metres with a coat of arms). The regional clothing demonstrates how the chintz was cherished and preserved. The visitor discovers the special techniques of this craft and how chintz played an important role in the world in the seventeenth century. In addition, the exhibition shows that chintz still inspires new initiatives in the field of handicrafts. Together with the Textiel Factorij, the Museum of Friesland presents contemporary works by Dutch artists and designers made with Indian craftsmen.

For more information, visit the website of the Fries Museum, Netherlands.

Events: Tales from the Road – Searching for the Vernacular Furniture of Rajasthan

Event date: Wednesday 28 June 2017, 6pm

SADACC (South Asian Decorative Arts & Crafts Collection) in Norwich has been collaborating with the Design Innovation and Craft Resource Center (DICRC), CEPT University, Ahmedabad, on the first ever survey of the vernacular furniture in Rajasthan. In this event, Ben Cartwright, Collection Curator for SADACC and Mansi Sathyanarayan, Project Team Leader, DICRC, CEPT University, will share their fieldwork experiences, their tales from the road in Rajasthan.

The fieldwork team have travelled to villages, towns and cities in a state that is over two and a half times the size of England. They have been invited into the homes of Rajasthani royalty and Adivasi farmers alike, walked through fields and deserts, and met with carpenters, potters and local mudwork makers. Wherever they have gone, they have been invited across the threshold to look at pieces of vernacular furniture and to chat about the lifestyles they enable – a study of vernacular furniture is very much a study of the people who use it. Every object contains the story of a craftsman, an individual or family, the community and the landscape.

Rajasthan, the state of kings, deserts, painted havelis and walled cities is famous for its textiles, music, landscape and architecture. But it is also home to an incredible variety of traditional furniture. There are public benches that have given their name to the debates village elders hold on them, chests with elaborate locking mechanisms shrouded in secrecy and handed down by the head of the house at the point of death, intricately painted pieces from palace collections through to the crude wooden mattress stands and mudwork grain stores found in poor rural homes.

It has been the job of the fieldwork team to try and discover these stories. Next week, they will be sharing their experiences – what it was like to stay with royalty in Shekhawati or visit the outlands close to Banswara. Join us for a behind the scenes introduction to the Vernacular Furniture of N.W. India project.

Entry is free and refreshments will be provided.

To find out more about SADACC, visit their website.

Please RSVP by Friday 23 June to info@sadacc.co.uk, or phone 01603 663890.

Exhibition: Ikats, Tissus de Vie – Un Voyage de l’Orient à l’Occident

Exhibition dates: May 2017 – December 2019 (see below for precise dates and locations)

For many years, tens of books, studies and exhibitions have been dedicated to ikat across the world, in the United States, in the Asia-Pacific region, England, the Netherlands and Switzerland. But nothing, or nearly nothing, in France.

Ikats, tissus de vie is there to fill this void. This project, consisting of a book and exhibitions, offers a large panoramic of these textile creations which have fascinated so many societies, from insular Southeast Asia to Islamic territories and Western Europe.

Ikat refers to the use of resists and dyes to apply colours very precisely to threads, before weaving them to create figures that vibrate inside the cloth.

Using this complex process, several societies from across the world have managed to create a surprising visual beauty, often regarded as sacred and central to their beliefs. Exploring the memory and the territories of ikat is also a way to understand how textiles evolved in cultures and to question what they can become today.

This exhibition will take place in four different locations between May 2017 and December 2019:

• La Route du lin, near Loudéac, Brittany – 20 May to 5 November 2017

• L’Abbaye de Trizay, near Rochefort – 1 June to 12 August 2018

• Le Musée Bernard d’Agesci, Niort, Deux-Sèvres – December 2018 to March 2019

• Le Musée Bargoin, Clermont-Ferrand – June to December 2019

For more information, visit the Parole et Patrimoine website (info in French) or the Tribal Textiles forum (info in English).

Exhibition: Phulkari – The Embroidered Textiles of Punjab from the Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Collection

Exhibition dates: 12 March – 9 July 2017

Discover the beauty and cultural significance of phulkari, ornately embroidered textiles from Punjab, a region straddling Pakistan and India. In addition to stunning examples from the Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Collection, this exhibition features traditional phulkaris from the museum’s collection and high-fashion ensembles by one of India’s leading designers, Manish Malhotra.

Phulkari, meaning ‘flower work’, is a labour-intensive textile made of vibrant silk embroidery on a plain-woven cotton cloth. Deeply rooted in Punjabi life before the 1947 partition of India and Pakistan (which split the Punjab region), this tradition has become a powerful symbol of Punjabi cultural identity.

Usually worn by women as large shawls on special occasions, phulkaris were also made as blankets or as furniture covers or hangings. Women of many religious groups – Muslims, Hindus, Christians and Sikhs (who consider the Punjab their holy land) – stitched phulkaris, with young girls learning needlework from older female relatives and friends. They often created the embroideries for their dowry, which they brought to their new homes when they married.

Some phulkaris depict animals and village scenes, while others display complex geometric patterns in bold colors conveying good fortune and social status. Whether figurative or geometric, all are rich in symbolism: after the 1947 partition, phulkari textiles became an important symbol for the new nation of Pakistan.

Over the past half century, phulkari techniques and patterns have experienced a revival, especially as a commercial art. As an emblem of pre-partition village life, phulkaris have been celebrated in popular music and videos. More recently, this folk tradition has entered the realm of high fashion through designers such as Manish Malhotra, who recently created a phulkari-based couture collection.

For more information, visit the website of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Event: Colourful Banjara Textiles from the British Museum’s Reserve Collection at Blythe House, Olympia

Event date: Wednesday 19 April 2017, 2.00 pm – 3.00 pm

The Banjara are a semi-nomadic people who, prior to the construction of roads and railways, provided long-distance bullock caravans of goods across India. They are known for their vibrant clothing and domestic textiles in shades of rich yellow ochre and red madder decorated by mirrors, embroidery, applique and shells. This event will be presented by the British Museum’s T. Richard Blurton, Head of the South and Southeast Asia Section, and textile gallery owner (and OATG member), Joss Graham.

See Asian Textiles magazine #64 (June 2016) for a review of a new book on the Banjara: Textiles of the Banjara.

Event location: Blythe House, Olympia, London (more details on access provided when booking).

Please note that numbers for this event are strictly limited and advanced registration is essential. Places will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis.

For more information, and to register for your place, visit the Eventbrite page.