Today’s New York Times Metropolitan section has a story by Tammy La Gorce about the show ‘Art Amongst War’ at The College of New Jersey’s Art Gallery. The show is curated by Deborah Hutton, and it features an array of art made by Afghan artists including 5 war rugs loaned by warrug.com, including the one in Times’ story. The show includes fine paintings, beautiful needlework, historical and contemporary video, installation art and some beautiful and haunting photographs.
“The anonymous weavers of six 1980s and 1990s-era “war rugs” — carpets whose motifs include land mines, guns and soldiers — may have had no formal training, learning from their relatives, but they have incorporated the grim realities of life in a war zone into their traditional craft.”
A highpoint of my interest in war rugs was attending the opening of Max Allen’s collection of war rugs at Canada’s Textile Museum. Max and everyone at the Textile Museum have developed an excellent war rug database. It has structural data, very good descriptions, and excellent photographs. Bravo!
Toronto is a beautiful and interesting town. I visited a well styled and eclectic independent bookstore called The Monkey’s Paw.
Commencing our tour, Max commended this rug as best of all:
The contenders for my favorite are:
This, truly gorgeous rug, is most historically important:
I talked to Tim and Max about my theory of the “Feedback Loop” specifically regarding this rug:
this group of rugs:
and these Mas’ud rugs:
Max’s guided Tim and me through the galleries. His analysis was animated and very well informed. Succinctly, Max focused on our lack of specific answers to four questions: Who made the rugs? Where were they made? When were they made? What do they mean?
More posts about this show soon…..
(l-r) Sarah Quinton, Nataley Nagy, Max Allen, and Fourth Estate member representing The National Post.
The artist Richard Johnson whose drawings were on display standing in front of “The Mother of All War Rugs”.
Jam Minaret gallery.
Excellent gallery of pictorial rugs, including “Calendar” rugs.
Tim Bonyhady in Rustam gallery.The rug at left is a great beauty.
Press coverage of the show:
The National Post
Textile expert and war rug aficionado Max Allen has curated an exhibition of his war rugs at Canada’s Textile Museum which opens April 23. There is a story today from Reuters about the show.
“It’s hard to tell what a particular rug is supposed to mean when its history is hidden and its maker is unknown,” said Max Allen, the curator of the exhibit.
“What’s left are the rugs themselves — eloquent anonymous documents of a world turned upside down,” he added in an interview.
For Allen all of the rugs are important cultural documents about the events that occurred in that part of the world.
“There’s never been anything like them before and they are war from the ground up,” he said.
From The Salt Lake Tribune.
Hozain, who weaves on a loom in her home, is one of dozens of textile artists from around the globe whose work is included in a traveling national exhibit.
The common thread among these women of South Africa, Vietnam, Peru and the Middle East is the influence of warfare on their communities, said Lisa Gabbert, a humanities professor at Utah State University and project director. “This exhibit is important because it places women’s voices at the forefront of a public discussion on war,” Gabbert said. “Women’s voices, particularly the voices of poor women from developing countries, are usually left out of such discussions.”
Previous Posts about Weavings of War:New York opening, Hali review, , exhibition photos, and example of WoW rug and regular Baluchi pattern.
Here are a few links about the exhibition at the Miami University Art Museum.
Some of the rugs in the museum exhibition serve as warnings to people to be aware of unexploded ordinances, illustrating what not to touch. Others contain maps and other images that detail the Soviet occupation, and later, the terrorist attacks against the United States in 2001.
“These rugs are quite mysterious,” he [Kremmer] said. “They haven’t been studied in any great detail, who made them and why, what are the messages. That’s why this exhibit is important.”
Link from The Journal News
And a Symposium description from The Oxford Press
The featured exhibition, “Tanks, Helicopters, Guns and Grenades: The Afghan War Rugs,” explores how the changing political landscape of Afghanistan, beginning with the Soviet invasion of 1979, has influenced the rug weavers of the area as they replaced traditional motifs with modern weaponry and warfare.
From The Middletown Journal
The result is an art form that resides precariously â€œalongside contemporary and avant-garde art, and political
art and propaganda,â€ Marsh said. This exhibition will showcase approximately 80 war rugs from a private New York collection and offers a rare opportunity to investigate the complex historical, political and social realities of this region.
From Richard Jones’ Blog
Another Richard Jones’ blog entry with photos by Nick Daggy
Warrug.com is proud and honored to lend more than 80 rugs from our collection to the Miami University Art Museum for an exhibition titled, Tanks, Helicopters, Guns and Grenades: The Afghan War Rugs of the 1980s-2007. The wide ranging and thorough exhibition runs through December 15, 2007.
The show was curated by Natalie Marsh, who did excellently selecting, organizing, and hanging the rugs. The Museum will host a symposium with Christopher Kremmer as keynote and featuring the very respected Afghan scholar Thomas E. Gouttierre, Homayun Sidky, Daniel Prior, and Weavings of War, Fabrics of Memory curator Ariel Zeitlin Cooke. (Previous post about The Weavings of War, and another about its opening in New York.) I will be giving a gallery talk on collecting Tuesday, September 25 at 4:00 pm.
Special thanks to everyone who worked organizing, preparing, indexing, and hanging the show, as well as everyone who supported this important exhibition at Miami University.
Curator, Natalie Marsh, giving a tour of the exhibition to Museum members on opening night.