Monday, 31 October 2011

Agbada, Riga, Boubou… Nigerian prestige gowns.




For some sources this motif is a Sufi inspired spiral towards the infinite. For others it is just the moon. My focus today is just on the graphic beauty it displays. For front views and more details  on these two early robes see our gallery here.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

“Weaving Abstraction: Kuba Textiles and the Woven Art of Central Africa”–major new exhibition now at the Textile Museum, Washington.


Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the opening of this important new show and the accompanying Fall Symposium at the Textile Museum. This is a beautifully presented show, with each piece carefully mounted, sensitively lit, and displayed against a restrained chocolate brown background that does justice to the artistry and variety of superb Kuba textiles on view. The wider context of Central African raffia art was shown by the inclusion of a small number of textiles from other regional traditions (more are shown in the catalogue) and by a group of fine baskets, primarily from the Tutsi and Hutu peoples of Rwanda. The Textile Museum and the curator, Vanessa Drake Moraga, are to be congratulated on this splendid exhibition.

Below is the gallery guide. Click on each image for a larger view.







The exhibition catalogue is available from the Textile Museum. Click on the image below:


Finally there is a program of events to accompany the show. Click to view.


Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Weaving the Threads of Livelihood: the aesthetic and embodied knowledge of Berber weavers–new exhibition at the Brunei Gallery, SOAS, London


“The Sirwa is situated at the junction of the High Atlas and the Anti Atlas mountain ranges in Morocco. The Berber weavers of the Sirwa are renowned for their wide range of textiles and their technical knowledge and artistry. In addition to embroidery and sprang (an ancient precursor of knitting), female Sirwa weavers master several weaving techniques: tapestry weaving, twinning, brocading and knotting, which they use individually or in combination. Since the 1980s weaving production has intensified, this activity occupying most of the households in the region and constituting a major livelihood option complementing subsistence agriculture.

The central piece of the exhibition will be a special 19th century cloak, the akhnif, (loaned by the British Museum) a garment unique to Morocco that has inspired the production of a new type of carpet in the 1990s, and variants since. In the exhibition, many of these richly coloured, densely embellished and painstakingly crafted carpets will be displayed. They demonstrate the dynamism and creativity of Sirwa weavers who exploit and continuously update their rich weaving tradition to produce a great variety of weavings for the international market. This will be the first exhibition dedicated to contemporary textiles production in Morocco.

Visitors to the exhibition will have the opportunity to watch as the Sirwa weavers demonstrate their technical skills on equipment especially brought from Morocco and can even try their own hand at weaving. They will be given the opportunity to touch many items displayed in the exhibition, to handle tools (spindles, cards and beating combs) and textures (yarns and weaving samples) and to experience the carpets.

A one-day international conference on Moroccan textiles will take place in conjunction with the exhibition. The conference will explore Moroccan textiles in their historical and social context; contemporary Moroccan textile designers and artists will present their work and creations.”

I may have more information on this in a week or two when I have had time to check it out.