Exhibition: Huicholes – A People Walking Towards the Light

Exhibition dates: 5 April – 4 September 2017

Huicholes – A People Walking Towards the Light showcases the art and lives of the Huicholes, an indigenous group from western Mexico whose history dates back 15,000 years. Featuring dazzling yarn paintings created using traditional techniques, the exhibition includes ceremonial objects, handmade textiles and photographs documenting a unique and threatened way of life.

This exhibition is on loan from Artes de México with the support of the Consulate General of Mexico and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, through the Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation.

For more information, visit the website of the Textile Museum of Canada, Toronto, Canada.

Event: Living with the Shahsevan – A talk by Richard Tapper for ORTS

 

Event date: Wednesday 19 April 2017, 6–9 pm

This is an Oriental Rug and Textile Society event.

Richard says: “I lived among Shahsevan nomads in the 1960s, when their weavings were almost unknown, or commonly labelled ‘Kurdish’ or ‘Qarabagh’. I visited them again briefly in 1968, 1973, and then in 1993 and 1995 – by which time of course their weavings were very well-known, and production had been widely commercialised. I shall describe life among the nomads, give some background to their history, and some details on the weaving that I observed, all illustrated with slides from the field.”
R.L. Tapper, MA PhD, is Emeritus Professor of Anthropology with reference to the Middle East.

The talk will be held at St James Conference Room, 197 Piccadilly, London W1J 9LL.

The Conference Room entrance is in the Church Place passageway, which runs between Jermyn Street and Piccadilly.  There is a wrought iron gate signed ‘Church Hall Conference Room’ leading downstairs.  Drinks and snacks will be served.

Piccadilly Circus tube is 5 minutes’ walk, and Green Park Tube is 10 minutes’ walk.  There is free parking in St James Square after 6.30pm.

Please note this is an Oriental Rug and Textile Society event, but non-members are welcome to attend: £7 single lecture, £5 students, or choose £20 for one year’s membership (11 events).

For more information, visit the website of the Oriental Rug and Textile Society.

Exhibition: Colors of the Oasis – Central Asian Ikats

Exhibition dates: 12 March – 4 June 2017

Colors of the Oasis: Central Asian Ikats showcases nearly fifty ikat robes and panels from the renowned Murad Megalli Collection of the Textile Museum in Washington DC.

These bold garments were mainstays of cosmopolitan oasis culture in the nineteenth century, worn by inhabitants of different classes and religions throughout crowded marketplaces, private homes, centres of worship and ceremonial places. The ikat textiles on display – including robes for men and women, dresses, trousers and hangings – feature eye-catching designs in dazzling colours.

Supplementing the ikats are historical photographs and didactic materials about the tradition of their creation. The textiles were originally produced in the 1800s in weaving centres across Uzbekistan, including Bukhara, Samarkand and the Fergana Valley.

Additionally, special installations of ikat textiles from India, Japan and Central Asia – on view in the museum’s permanent galleries in the Law Building – demonstrate ikat traditions from around the globe.

For more information, visit the website of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, USA.

Exhibition: Textiles from Sumba, Indonesia

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Exhibition dates: this is an online exhibition, available to view indefinitely

A special exhibition of textiles from Sumba, curated by HALI contributing editor Thomas Murray and drawing from his extensive collection, is available to view online. It begins:

“The island of Sumba may be found on a map between Bali and New Guinea but it exists in its own world, far apart from those antipodal lands. Divided east and west by language and environmental conditions, the west tends to be more wet and green and the east, dryer.

Sumbanese religion, Marapu, recognizes that a dualistic symmetry exists in the universe, that of male and female, hot and cold, sun and moon, cloth and metal. Here there are good and bad spirits hovering nearby, needing ritual offerings on a regular basis. The ancestors must most especially be cared for.

Sumba is thus home to one of the strongest animistic tribal societies found in Indonesia, perhaps most famous for its notorious custom of cutting off the heads of enemies and placing them on the branches of a designated tree, the pohon andung, at the entrance of the village. Such trees represented the Tree of Life as well as serving to remind viewers of the power of the raja.

Sumba has a rich megalithic heritage, featuring giant stone tomb memorials. Sumbanese houses, particularly the customary houses found in royal villages, known as rumah adat, are understood to be cosmic diagrams, with the underworld of the animals below, the mid-level for human habitation and the high roof being the realm of the ancestors. This is also the place where the pusaka heirloom treasures are stored, to be closer to the departed souls; precious gold jewelry and fabulously rare and beautiful textiles were kept just under the peak of the roof on both sides of the island. But the art of weaving and dyeing achieved greatest heights in the east, with ikat textiles adding bright colors to the dusty brown background of this, the dry side of the island.”

To view the exhibition, visit Thomas Murray’s website.

Exhibition: Embroidered Tales and Woven Dreams

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Exhibition dates: 19 January – 25 March 2017

The exhibition Embroidered Tales and Woven Dreams is a colour-coded social history of the vast and geographically varied landscape known as the Silk Road (or originally the ‘Seidenstrasse’, a name given to this road by the German explorer Richthofen), which stretches from Central Asia to Western Europe. Its regional history will be explored through the embroidered tales and woven textiles of the communities who lived north and south of this ancient trade corridor across Asia.

The textiles on display have recorded a wonderful vernacular art, as embroidered tales, told by women storytellers, who were guardians of their customs and traditions for their individual tribes, castes and communities.

This exhibition, with a series of related lectures by internationally renowned lecturers, will examine the immensely rich, culturally fascinating identity of the Central Asian, Middle Eastern and South Asian landscapes, through the heritage of their embroidered textiles and costumes. It is a rich seam of historical material, meticulously embroidered and woven.

While the Silk Road, as a concept, refers to an area that underwent a thousand years of turbulent history, the physical links were comprised of smaller land routes, often through difficult terrain, and passable only by specialised trade caravans.

The northern ‘–stans’ of the Uzbeks, Kyrghiz, Tajiks, Turcoman and Khazaks exchanged goods with distant neighbours in Afghanistan and northern India, and, depending upon varying political arrangements, the even more distant powers of South Asia, Persia, Byzantium, Russia and China.

The exhibition will briefly examine the political upheavals that destroyed the lives of these communities and their nomadic, semi-nomadic and settled lifestyles.

For more information, visit the website of the Brunei Gallery, London, UK.

Exhibition: Hmong Songs of Memory, Hmong Threads of Life

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Exhibition dates: 16 December 2016 – 30 April 2017

Hmong Songs of Memory, Hmong Threads of Life, an absorbing multi-media exhibition of photographs, film, artefacts and textiles amassed by researcher and musician Victoria Vorreiter, offers visitors the opportunity to explore the age-old music, ceremonies and beliefs of the mountain-dwelling Hmong of Southeast Asia. The event, which marks the launch of Vorreiter’s book and ethnographic film, Hmong Songs of Memory: Traditional Secular and Sacred Hmong Music, will especially highlight collections of Hmong musical instruments and Hmong clothing representing four subgroups.

The exhibition is being held at Tamarind Village, Chiang Mai, Thailand.

For more information, visit the Tribal Music Asia website.

Exhibition: Striking Patterns – Global Traces in Local Ikat Fashion Design

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Exhibition dates: 21 October 2016 – 26 March 2017

In eastern Indonesia and Timor-Leste people wear hand-woven, decorative ikat cloths as a mark of prestige and to flaunt their taste for fashion at festive events. Ikat is a form of art in which the yarn is tied and dyed – the Indonesian term ‘ikat’ means ‘to tie’ – before weaving. Woven into the patterns are myths, rituals, recent historical events, imported motifs as well as new fashion trends. Ever since they began producing ikat, weavers have incorporated foreign influences. Relying on old pieces from the museum’s exceptional collections as well as new cloths, including contemporary interpretations by Ito Joyoatmojo and Susi Kramer, the exhibition Striking Patterns: Global Traces in Local Ikat Fashion illuminates the development of the tradition, illustrating how these highly skilled weavers have already long been part of the process of globalization.

Become enthralled by beautiful shoulder cloths, hip wraps and sarongs! This exhibition unfolds a sea of flowers. In particular, the Indian eight-pointed flower features in almost endless variations, accompanied by a rain of European roses. Animals populate the cloths, just as tourists do. We also find Catholic motifs in the shape of crucifixes and angels, while synthetic yarns and bright
colours lend some of the exhibits a radiant touch of modern fashion.

This exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue, published in German and English.

For more information, visit the website of the Museum der Kulturen, Basel, Switzerland.

Exhibition: Woven Paradise – A Journey through the Anatolian Textile Craft of the 18th and 19th Centuries

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Exhibition dates: 23 October – 3 December 2016

Collector Martin Posth, author of Collected Beauty, a highly respected book on Anatolian rugs and kilims published in 2014, is presenting a selection from his extensive collection in an exhibition at Berlin’s Studio Bumiller. Forty-three Anatolian rugs and thirteen kilims from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries will be shown at the exhibition entitled, Woven Paradise: A Journey through the Anatolian Textile Craft of the 18th and 19th Centuries.

The exhibition highlights the centuries-old history of carpet knotting and the influence that diverse cultures have had on the Turkish-Anatolian region. At the same time, it offers an overview of the different types of Anatolian rugs and kilims, introducing the viewer to their world of colour, ornamentation, variety of design and symbolism. The exhibition displays prayer rugs and nomadic rugs, funeral rugs, rugs from Anatolia’s Christian communities, and full-pile carpets that served as beds.

The bridging of Islam and the followers of other faiths (Christians and Jews, Armenians and Kurds) is a hallmark of the Ottoman Empire, and with this in mind, the exhibition aims to promote, and contribute to, a constructive exchange between cultures. ‘The exhibition can help facilitate a better understanding of our fellow citizens of Islamic heritage, thereby allowing us to encounter them more respectfully’, says Martin Posth.

The exhibition is accompanied by a comprehensive and high quality catalogue, presented both in German and English: Woven Paradise – A Journey through the Anatolian Textile Craft of the 18th and 19th Centuries, self-published by Dr. Martin Posth.

For more information, visit the website of Studio Bumiller, Berlin, Germany.

Event: REMINDER – Talk by Author and Specialist Chris Aslan Alexander – A Carpet Ride to Khiva

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Event date: Thursday 13 October 2016, 6.15 – 8pm

This is just a reminder about the OATG event taking place next Thursday, in which Chris Alexander will be speaking about carpet weaving in Uzbekistan. Chris has also recently let us know that he will be bringing carpets and other textiles for a show and tell session after his presentation for attendees of the event to see.

Chris Aslan Alexander established two workshops in Khiva in Uzbekistan, recreating fifteenth-century Timurid carpet designs from forgotten illuminations and reviving silk carpet weaving, natural dye-making and suzani embroidery. To find out more about Chris, and about the book he has written on this subject, visit his website.

Location: The Pauling Centre, 58a Banbury Road, Oxford OX2 6QS.

Admission is free for members, and £3 for non-members.

There are still a few places remaining at this event, so please book yours now if you’d like to come.

For more information, and to book your place at this event, please contact the OATG events organisers (oatg.events@gmail.com).

Exhibition: Hangzhou Triennial of Fiber Art

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Exhibition dates: 25 August – 25 October 2016

Hangzhou, an ancient cultural city and a modern leisure city, and home to the high-profile G20 Summit in 2016, a rare opportunity and a driving force to integrate development from different aspects. On such a grand occasion, the 2nd Hangzhou Triennial of Fibre Art is being held jointly by Zhejiang Provincial Department of Culture, Publicity Department of CPC Hangzhou Municipal Committee and China Academy of Art.

This internationally famous exhibition is also a high-grade contemporary art brand of Hangzhou, as Hangzhou is home to silk as well as being the capital of fibre. The exhibition brings together fiber art by 60 artists from 20 countries and regions, many of whom are from the participating countries of G20 Summit. The exhibition presents a global conversation from the great dimensions of time and space on the significance of fibre art in terms of its history, humanity, current social practices, the environment, the internet and new technology. The world’s attention will be focused in Hangzhou again, and Hangzhou will show the world its unique, profound and charming culture and art.

Weaving & We, the theme of the 2nd Hangzhou Triennial of Fibre Art, is both the focus of the exhibition and the starting point of creation. Stemming from the origin ‘weaving’, the exhibits go far beyond what we know of ‘weaving’ in our daily life. The timeliness and repetition of ‘weaving’ symbolise maternal reproductive power that derives from the mother’s original creative source given by nature, and constantly promotes the evolution of human civilization. ‘Weaving’ is by no means a ready-made object, but an ever-changing action and initiative.

As long as there are human beings, there will be continuous weaving. At the same time, Weaving & We tells the secret of mutual promotion of the technique and the way. I weave, therefore I am. ‘I weave’ refers to the technique, while ‘I am’ refers to the way. The way is in the technique and lies only in the technique. I weave, therefore I am. In this way, it points out the theme that artistic works need to go back to the origin and essence of life. This event is divided into four sections featuring curatorial research and artists’ works echoing the theme. The sections are ‘needles and proverbs’, ‘body and identity’, ‘weaving and form’, and ‘scene and phenomenon’.

 

For more information, visit the website of the Hangzhou Triennial of Fibre Art.