Event: Exploration and Experimentation – Nineteenth-Century Photography of India 


Event date: Thursday 14 September, 6pm

SADACC (South Asian Decorative Arts & Crafts Collection) in Norwich, UK, invites you to an evening talk by Divia Patel, Curator, Asia Department, V&A.

Photography was introduced to India in the 1840s by European enthusiasts keen to experiment with this new technology abroad. During the following decades the development of the medium in the region was driven by war, commerce, political ambition and the pursuit of artistic excellence. In 1852 Dr John McCosh took the first photographs of Burma and just over a decade later Samuel Bourne captured the summit of the Manuring pass in the Himalayas. Using the V&A archives, this illustrated lecture will explore these and other fascinating stories behind some of the most important photographs of the region.

Divia Patel is Senior Curator for the Asian Department of the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), London. Divia is well known for her research on photography and film in India, and also for working with textiles and fashion, including her work for the recent Fabric of India exhibition at the V&A.

This is a free event and refreshments will be provided.

Please RSVP by Friday 8 September to info@sadacc.co.uk, or phone 01603 663890.

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Exhibition: REMINDER – Embroidered Visions – Photographs of Central Asia and the Middle East by Sheila Paine

pitt-rivers-embroidered-visions

Exhibition dates: 1 November 2016 – 30 April 2017

This is a reminder that this exhibition will be open only until the end of this month, and also that a book of the same name is now available (since 25 January), priced at £10. You can find it in the PRM shop or you can purchase it online here.

This exhibition presents a selection of photographs taken by textile expert Sheila Paine during her travels in Central Asia and the Middle East in the late 1980s and through the 1990s. The images have been chosen both to demonstrate the extent of Paine’s travelling, which has culminated in books on embroidery and other subjects, and to reveal her eye for colours and textures also evident elsewhere in her research. Photographs of Central Asia were taken in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and the trading city of Kashgar in western China. Scenes from the Middle East include Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Turkey and, in particular, Yemen. A video screen also shows highlights of a travel documentary presented by Sheila Paine in Yemen, originally broadcast in 1996.

The photographs have been taken from assorted vantage points, sometimes from the top of a bus while travelling between towns, at other times as more intimate portraits of people encountered. Clothing depicted ranges from plain felted cloaks to elaborately embroidered Turkmen tunics. Other photographs show the material processes behind different types of textile, from spinning wool and winding silver thread, to the manufacture of fur hats and pompom horse-trappings.

The social significance of embroidery has been central to Sheila Paine’s research. This has included seeking out and photographing makers, tracking how textiles and designs migrate across distances, and understanding the meaning, especially protective amuletic functions, applied to many of the motifs. Her published travel trilogy – comprising The Afghan Amulet (1994), The Golden Horde (1997) and The Linen Goddess (2003) – was written about the journeys featured in this exhibition’s photographs, and documents her search for the origins of a triangular amuletic motif that takes her from the Hindu Kush to North Africa. Her interest in the power of such symbols and wearable talismans also resulted in the 2004 book Amulets: A World of Secret Powers, Charms and Magic. Travelling extensively since the mid-1980s, Paine acquired numerous textiles and amulets in the course of this work, many of which are now held in the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, alongside her collection of over three thousand photographs generously donated since 2012.

For more information, visit the website of the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford.

Exhibition: Embroidered Visions – Photographs of Central Asia and the Middle East by Sheila Paine

pitt-rivers-embroidered-visions

Exhibition dates: 1 November 2016 – 30 April 2017

This exhibition presents a selection of photographs taken by textile expert Sheila Paine during her travels in Central Asia and the Middle East in the late 1980s and through the 1990s. The images have been chosen both to demonstrate the extent of Paine’s travelling, which has culminated in books on embroidery and other subjects, and to reveal her eye for colours and textures also evident elsewhere in her research. Photographs of Central Asia were taken in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and the trading city of Kashgar in western China. Scenes from the Middle East include Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Turkey and, in particular, Yemen. A video screen also shows highlights of a travel documentary presented by Sheila Paine in Yemen, originally broadcast in 1996.

The photographs have been taken from assorted vantage points, sometimes from the top of a bus while travelling between towns, at other times as more intimate portraits of people encountered. Clothing depicted ranges from plain felted cloaks to elaborately embroidered Turkmen tunics. Other photographs show the material processes behind different types of textile, from spinning wool and winding silver thread, to the manufacture of fur hats and pompom horse-trappings.

The social significance of embroidery has been central to Sheila Paine’s research. This has included seeking out and photographing makers, tracking how textiles and designs migrate across distances, and understanding the meaning, especially protective amuletic functions, applied to many of the motifs. Her published travel trilogy – comprising The Afghan Amulet (1994), The Golden Horde (1997) and The Linen Goddess (2003) – was written about the journeys featured in this exhibition’s photographs, and documents her search for the origins of a triangular amuletic motif that takes her from the Hindu Kush to North Africa. Her interest in the power of such symbols and wearable talismans also resulted in the 2004 book Amulets: A World of Secret Powers, Charms and Magic. Travelling extensively since the mid-1980s, Paine acquired numerous textiles and amulets in the course of this work, many of which are now held in the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, alongside her collection of over three thousand photographs generously donated since 2012.

For more information, visit the website of the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford.

Event: Sheila Paine – Traveller, Writer, Photographer and Collector

oatg-john-gillow-talks-about-sheila-paine

Event date: Wednesday 2 November 2016, 6.30 pm

OATG member John Gillow will give an illustrated talk next week about Sheila Paine and her extraordinary travels, writing, talent as a photographer and passion for embroidered textiles.

John Gillow has travelled the world for many years, studying, collecting and writing about textiles. His books include African Textiles, Traditional Indian Textiles and World Textiles.

Location: Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford (South entrance, from South Parks Road). The museum will be open half an hour before the talk and afterwards to view the two associated displays of Sheila Paine’s textiles and photographs.

Admission is free for members, and £3 for non-members. To book your place at this event, please RSVP on the Eventbrite page.

For more information, visit the website of the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford.

Textile Tidbits: Historical Photographs from Thomas Murray’s Collection

T. Murray - Historic Photos

Today’s Textile Tidbit is re-sharing a link to some fantastic photographs that Pamela, OATG’s website manager, recently shared on her Tribal Textiles forum. US-based textile dealer and HALI editor, Thomas Murray, has made available several hundred (or possibly thousand?) historical photographs, mostly of southeast Asian textiles, on his website. The photos were taken by a number of different photographers, but all are now in Murray’s collection, and he has scanned and uploaded them to the web. The image above is of an exhibition at the Tropen Museum from the Laurens Langewis collection. I highly recommend browsing through some of these pictures for yourself.

To see more of these wonderful photographs, visit Thomas Murray’s website.

Exhibition: China – Through the Lens of John Thomson

GWTM - China Through the Lens of John Thompson

Exhibition dates: 19 September 2015 – 14 February 2016

In the second half of the nineteenth century, Scottish photographer and travel writer John Thomson took four journeys across China. His photographs capture scenes and people from all walks of life – ministers, high officials, wealthy traders, street vendors, brides, boat women, monks and soldiers – providing a lasting record of nineteenth-century China’s landscapes, architecture, communities and customs. This exhibition, organised by the George Washington University and The Textile Museum, presents a stunning selection of Thomson’s photographs displayed alongside contemporaneous pieces from The Textile Museum’s collection of Qing Dynasty textiles and accessories. The colourful textiles help bring Thomson’s powerful black-and-white images to life.

For more information, visit the website of the Textile Museum, Washington DC.