Exhibit Opening - From Combat to Carpets: The Art of Afghan War RugsJanuary 12, 2020
1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
War rugs “are the production of women artists, and of communities speaking globally not just locally,” said co-curator Annemarie Sawkins. “War rugs reflect Afghanistan’s historic and modern place as a busy cultural crossroads. They reveal the observant and innovative nature of the people who produced them.” Afghan “war rugs” gained international attention following the Soviet invasion of 1979 when millions of refugees fled to neighboring Pakistan and Iran. Join us for a special version of this traveling show including pieces from the MOIFA collection.
1:00 pm - Talk by curator Annemarie Sawkins
2:00 pm - Refreshments provided by the Women’s Board.
2:00 - 4:00 p.m. - Hands-on weaving activity for all ages
Image: Rug with Map of Afghanistan, Unidentified artist;Knotted wool, Baghlan (Afghanistan), Acquired in Peshawar (Pakistan), 1998. Credit: Image courtesy of Annemarie Sawkins and Enrico Mascelloni
“The exhibition made its debut at the Villa Terrace Decorative Art Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and has been traveling throughout the United States. The version opening at MOIFA is supplemented with items from the museum’s permanent collection, including older carpets from the region.
This unique subset of handwoven rugs can teach us about the innovative nature of rug design and production, as well as the long history of foreign involvement in Afghanistan. Rug producers, provoked by decades of traders and invaders in the country, adapted traditional motifs and compositions, translating them into depictions of world maps, tourist sites, weapons, and military figures. Such war rugs have proven popular among occupying military personnel, journalists, foreign aid workers, international collectors, and contemporary art curators.
Over the years, rug makers have continued to update popular imagery and themes to reflect current events, changing technologies, and the tastes of potential buyers. The emergence of war-related imagery in Afghan rug design has clearly aided the economic survival of area weavers and displaced craftspeople through years of armed conflict and cultural disruption. What war rugs mean to individual weavers is less understood. Are war rugs a celebration of modernity or a rejection of war? Are they a witness to shared trauma or a commercialization of violence? Are they testaments to ingenuity and a spirit of survival? Perhaps they are all of these things at once.” Explore more pieces from the exhibit
About the Museum of International Folk Art: http://www.internationalfolkart.org/
Founded in 1953 by Florence Dibell Bartlett, the Museum of International Folk Art’s mission is to foster understanding of the traditional arts to illuminate human creativity and shape a humane world. The museum holds the world’s largest international folk art collection of more than 150,000 objects from six continents and over 150 nations, representing a broad range of global artists whose artistic expressions make Santa Fe an international crossroads of culture. For many visitors, fascination with folk art begins upon seeing the whimsical toys and traditional objects within the Girard Collection. For others, the international textiles, ceramics, carvings and other cultural treasures in the Neutrogena Collection provide the allure. The museum’s historic and contemporary Latino and Hispano folk art collections, spanning the Spanish Colonial period to modern-day New Mexico, reflect how artists respond to their time and place in ways both delightful and sobering. In 2010, the museum opened the Mark Naylor and Dale Gunn Gallery of Conscience, where exhibitions encourage visitors to exchange ideas on complex issues of human rights and social justice.
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