Exhibition: Embroidered Bodies – Garments, Stitches and Stories from the Ashmolean Museum

Exhibition dates: 5 May – 10 September 2017

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

The exhibition, curated by the OATG’s own 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.

The OATG is organising two events in connection with this exhibition: one on Tuesday 13 June 2.45 pm at the Ashmolean Museum, and another on Saturday 15 July at 2.30 pm at the Broadway Museum (see the OATG events programme here).

For more information, visit the website of the Broadway Museum, Broadway, near Evesham, UK.

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Event: A Pop-Up Exhibition of Antique Textiles & Jewellery from Asia & Africa

Event dates: 17–21 May 2017, 11am – 6pm

BARBIE CAMPBELL COLE, JOHN GILLOW and MARTIN CONLAN of SLOW LORIS invite you to

A POP-UP EXHIBITION of ANTIQUE TEXTILES & JEWELLERY FROM ASIA & AFRICA

at 34 Churton Street, Pimlico, London SW1V 2LP (outside the Congestion Zone).

Necklace restringing and jewellery repair service available at the fair.

Payments: We don’t take credit cards so your cheque book may be useful.

Parking: Local parking restrictions: Monday – Friday 8.30am – 6.30pm

Directions: Churton Street is off Belgrave Road, SW1, outside the Congestion Zone.

By tube: Churton Street is five minute’s walk from Victoria and Pimlico tube stations.

From Victoria mainline station, exit at the top of Platform 1 and turn right into Wilton Road. Pass Sainsbury’s and cross lights into Denbigh Street. At next lights and junction with Belgrave Road, turn sharp left into Churton Street..      

From Pimlico tube, head north up Tachbrook Street. After five minutes, just before Tachbrook Street Market, turn left into Churton Street.

By car:  Churton Street is best approached from Belgrave Road. Local parking restrictions: Monday – Friday 8.30am – 6.30pm

By bus:  Five minutes’ walk from bus stops at Victoria station as above, or take No. 24 bus from Victoria which passes the end of Churton Street on Belgrave Road

*JOHN GILLOW’s seven books on antique textiles from Africa and Asia have been published by Thames & Hudson and The British Museum Press. He has travelled the world studying and buying antique textiles for over 25 years. Each year he makes at least eight buying trips and stocks a wider range of ethnic textiles than anyone else in the country.

*BARBIE CAMPBELL COLE trained as an architect at the Architectural Association, London, then worked for many years as a documentary maker in Africa and Asia for the BBC and C4. For the last fifteen years she has been dealing in antique jewellery and textiles from Asia and Africa, selling to museums, collectors, interior, set and costume designers worldwide. Her published research into the heirloom jewellery of northern Burma and northeast India has been funded by The Indian National Trust for Art & Cultural Heritage UK, and The Bead Study Trust.

*MARTIN CONLAN of SLOW LORIS TEXTILES is an acknowledged expert in the textile arts and crafts of the Chinese tribal minorities. For over twenty years he has travelled extensively in southwest China, collecting and trading in indigo and vegetable-dyed antique textiles, regularly sourcing specific items for interior and costume designers. He also sells beautifully cut modern oriental clothing in natural vegetable-dyed materials.

Exhibition: Fiji – Art and Life in the Pacific

 

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Exhibition dates: 15 October 2016 – 12 February 2017

Still open for another two weeks!

The largest and most comprehensive exhibition about Fiji ever assembled, it will take the visitor on a journey through the art and cultural history of Fiji since the late eighteenth century.

Over 270 works of art, including European paintings and historic photographs, are being loaned by exhibition partner the Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology at Cambridge, and by the Fiji Museum, the British Museum, the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford and museums in Aberdeen, Birmingham, Exeter, London, Maidstone, as well as Dresden and Leipzig in Germany.

This exhibition results from a three-year Arts & Humanities Research Council-funded project which examined the extensive but little-known Fijian collections in the UK and overseas, and uncovered some significant treasures.

Paintings, drawings and photographs of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries provide a context for the artworks. These include exquisite watercolours by the intrepid Victorian travel writer and artist Constance Gordon Cumming, and by naval artist James Glen Wilson, who was in Fiji in the 1850s.

For more information, visit the website of the Sainsbury Centre, Norwich.

Event: Conference: Cloth and Costume in Ethnographic Museums – New Directions in Research, Care and Interpretation 

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Event dates: 6–7 April 2017

The Museum Ethnographers Group Annual Conference 2017 will address cloth and costume. Cloth is a unique technology: light and flexible but presenting large surfaces and capable of taking innumerable colours and structures, it covers and divides things, reveals and connects them. Clothing and costuming the body, to protect and conceal it, to make it beautiful or terrifying, to transform or display its many identities – bring persons and statuses into the performed social world. Since remote prehistory, cloth and costume have both created demands and opportunities for humans to devise many of our most ingenious, delicate and technically complicated artefacts.

From Inuit gut parka to ancient Nazca textiles, traditional West African grand boubou costume to Masai beadwork, Scottish plaid to Italian tapestries, Persian rugs to Indian sari to Balinese dance masks, Bismarck Archipelago masquerade puppets to Samoan barkcloth lavalava; the cloth and costume in our World Cultures collections are immensely rich, diverse and culturally significant. In recent centuries, cloth and costume have also become important material sites for the contestation of identities and moralities, economic globalisation and colonial acculturation. From the worldwide trade in European mill-woven chemically dyed and printed textiles, to the battles of Christian missionaries with imagined states of immoral native undress, to the recent conflict between the French government and wearers of the hijab and burkini, the globalisation of Western dress convention has powerfully impacted the world’s other material cultures.

How, then, do we weave together these many strands in the ethnographic museum? What is the current state of research into world cultures’ cloth and costume collections, and what new approaches are we developing to understand them better? How are historical textiles and costume being curated in the world’s museums, and reimagined in the world’s contemporary art scenes? Are we engaging with contemporary world fashion or trapped in perpetuating stereotypical imaginings of an ‘authentically dressed’ ethnographic past that may never have existed? How can we manage these challenging objects better? What are the particular conservation problems of ethnographic textiles and costume, and how can we better care for them in the future? How are we exhibiting cloth and clothing in 2017? Are we capitalising on costume’s universal appeal in our display and education programmes?

Titles and 200-word abstracts for papers addressing these and other questions are warmly welcomed. Two standard formats are offered to presenters: a full conference paper to last twenty minutes, and a shorter ten-minute presentation on work in progress. Please email your proposed title, abstract and format choice (or any queries) to andrew.mills@glasgow.ac.uk by Monday 6 February.

Booking for the 2017 conference is now open. Tickets can be purchased through the Eventbrite site.

For more information, visit the website of the Museum Ethnographers Group.

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.

Event: Joss Graham’s Christmas Celebration 2016

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Event date: shop and gallery open 7–24 December; private view 6 December 2016, 5–9 pm

OATG member Joss Graham will be holding a Christmas celebration at his gallery and shop in London from next week, with a private view next Tuesday evening, 6 December.

Among other art and textile objects available for sale, there will be velvet ikat cushions from Istanbul, recycled sari silk bead necklaces from Delhi, hand-knitted accessories from the Himalayas, as well as textiles from Mexico.

For more information, visit Joss Graham’s website.

Event: Deeper than Indigo – Jenny Balfour Paul speaks at the Pitt Rivers Museum

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Event date: Wednesday 16 November, 6 pm

Jenny Balfour Paul (of the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, Exeter University) will give an illustrated account of her adventures in the heartlands of India’s Raj, Polynesia, the South China Seas and Arabia, in search of Thomas Machell, indigo planter and explorer, whose remarkable journals she found in the British Library.

This event promises to be quite popular.  The maximum capacity of the Pitt Rivers Museum Lecture Room is 70 and, rather than have to turn people away on the evening, the Friends of the Pitt Rivers have decided to set up a booking system.  Tickets are free of charge, but you do need to reserve your place.

Location: Pitt Rivers Museum Lecture Room, Oxford

To book your free place at this event, visit the Eventbrite booking page.

Exhibition: On the Grid – Textiles and Minimalism

De Young Museum - On The Grid

Exhibition dates: 23 July 2016 – 12 February 2017

On the Grid: Textiles and Minimalism presents a broad range of textile traditions from around the world that share many of the same aesthetic choices ascribed to minimalist works. This exploration underscores the universality of the movement’s underlying design principles, which include regular, symmetrical, or gridded arrangements; repetition of modular elements; direct use and presentation of materials; and an absence of ornamentation.

Minimalist art is based upon pre-existing systems that conceive of the artwork in advance of its actual execution. These systems, often mathematical, rely on the repetition of simple forms. Textiles by their very nature comply with these core elements, and textile artists, like the minimal artists, predetermine the finished work through their selection and processing of materials and in the warping or preparing of the loom. On the Grid examines these processes and further explores both the pre-eminence of weaving in the textile design vocabulary and its influences on the design of painted and dyed pieces that also conform to minimalism’s repetition of forms and the grid as patterning devices.

Together, more than two dozen textiles from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco’s permanent collection examine various aspects of the minimalist art aesthetic that address abstraction, precision, geometry, materiality and process. These objects reflect the core principle that there is a beauty in simplicity that is both universal and timeless.

For more information, visit the website of the de Young Museum, San Francisco, USA.

Exhibition: Art and Stories from Mughal India

Cleveland Museum - Art and Stories from Mughal India

Exhibition dates: 31 July – 23 October 2016

The Mughal Empire existed for more than 300 years, from the early 1500s until the arrival of British colonial rule in 1857, encompassing territory that included vast portions of the Indian subcontinent and Afghanistan. The Mughal rulers were Central Asian Muslims who assimilated many religious faiths under their administration. Famed for its distinctive architecture, including the Taj Mahal, the Mughal Empire is also renowned for its colourful and engaging paintings. Many of these take the form of narrative tales that not only delight the eye but also reveal fascinating ways in which the empire’s diverse cultural traditions found their way into royal creative expressions.

The centennial exhibition Art and Stories from Mughal India focuses on four stories – an epic, a fable, a mystic romance and a sacred biography – embedded within the overarching story of the Mughals themselves as told through 100 paintings drawn from the Cleveland Museum of Art’s world-class holdings. Many works from the museum’s recent landmark acquisition of the Catherine Glynn Benkaim and Ralph Benkaim Collection are exhibited here and published in a companion volume for the first time. Rounding out the exhibition is a selection of costumes, textiles, jewellery, arms and armour, architectural elements, and decorative arts on loan from museums across the United States.

For more information, visit the website of the Cleveland Museum of Art, USA.

Exhibitions: Art of the Austronesians – The Legacy of Indo-Pacific Voyaging

Exhibition dates: 24 April – 28 August 2016

Art of the Austronesians, on show at the Fowler Museum, Los Angeles, explores the history and development of the arts and cultures of the Austronesian-speaking peoples – from their prehistoric origins in what is now Taiwan to their successive seafaring migrations over millennia throughout the Philippines, Indonesia, the Pacific and beyond. The first major exhibition in the United States to examine the visual arts of the entire Austronesian world comparatively in a single project, it features a number of important pieces from the Fowler’s collection. Additional works borrowed from private California-based collections, many on view to the public for the first time, contribute to the remarkable breadth of the installation.

Most of the featured artworks date from the last two hundred years and therefore reflect a variety of accumulated influences. Visitors may, nevertheless, trace their development through time as the Austronesian world expanded, and discern among them repeated themes suggesting a common heritage. With nearly 200 works on view, the exhibition offers visitors a rare glimpse into the cultures of the descendants of these voyaging peoples through their visual arts.

For more information, visit the website of the Fowler Museum, Los Angeles, USA.