And here’s an inevitable hybrid! See this Turkmen carpet with the map of the world, deleted, by Mona Hartoum (Afghan (Black and Red) 2009) exhibited in the Istanbul Biennale, 2011, in the exhibition “Untitled (Passport)”. More here. And a better photograph here.
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The Pentagon has a plan to rationalise the carpet business!!! Read this report by Noah Shachtman here…
“The Afghan carpet industry requires essential training and know-how development in the field of carpet washing and finishing – an essential element of the value chain of any high-end, hand-woven carpet.” Tremayne is there to “operationalize the effort.”
Tremayne will also be responsible for landing 15 Afghan suppliers and finding three shipping routes out of Afghanistan that are “commercially viable (i.e., reasonably secure and consistent).” Once those routes are scoped out, Tremayne is supposed to put together an international sales hub in Istanbul, secure “commitments from a minimum of 5 major institutional buyers,” and start building “a market for the Afghan brand” with “strategic marketing & public relations.”
Sergio Poggianella (also a war carpet collector from Milan) has sent this image which would seem to be the antecedent to the Bedini collection S11 carpet. But the text (in Roman letters) which promised so much seems to be just letters. This is not unusual – we’ve seen borders made like this, as well as degenerated passages of text like this. Any cryptographers out there want to suggest a meaning?
… failed to make a point, according to critic Matthew Bown: “some works are coals to Newcastle, a misjudgment of the Moscow context. Afghan carpets featuring airplanes and other military technology have been on sale at Ismailovo Market here for 20 years.” The carpets in the Biennale may be token representation, perhaps, but (we might ask) where was Bown when war carpets began to appear in markets all around the world 20 years ago? Perhaps Bown missed curator Jean-Martin Hubert’s point, that since the late 80s such artefacts have continued to pose challenges to mainstream art when re-evaluated as works of art, despite such dismissive accounts. See the relevant catalogue page below; click to enlarge it.
a recent sighting of War Rugs on the boardwalk at Kandahar Air Field…
“….War Rugs sighted on a stall on the boardwalk KAF next to Tim
Hortons, Burger King, Pizza Hut, stalls with cheeky t-shirts, one stall
carrying fur goods and then a spa of sorts. The centre of the boardwalk
area also sports a hockey arena. The rugs were 3ft x 5ft in general,
some had English writing but often misspellings and they cost only
$30US! One rug had Chinook helicopters on it and a (blue) Canadian
flag. Chinooks are used by the Joint Task Force and six more were
bought by the Canadian Government and arrived in March.”
Negotiating with the Taliban (as suggested by President Obama) is “like grasping smoke”. So says the ANU’s Professor William Maley, on the ABC today. Let’s hope the O’s comment was a throwaway line…
Well there were many. But this cartoon of Yuri Andropov is the kind of political imagery we surmise was the origin of the “Puppet Najibullah” carpets.
from Michele Hardy:
I am very sad to announce the passing of Robert Fyke, a long time war rug collector and researcher on January 21, 2009. I met Rob when I took up a position at The Nickle Arts Museum at the University of Calgary in 2005. Rob approached me with the idea of curating an exhibition of war rugs and introduced me to some of the most enigmatic examples of textile art I have come across. I was hooked and we became close friends and colleagues. Rob conducted an extensive review of the available literature on war rugs, probing the dark recesses of the Internet and library for obscure references and historical information. He was a regular visitor to the Rugs of War Blog, keeping me abreast of upcoming exhibitions and where in the world Nigel Lendon was. In 2006 we mounted “Made in Afghanistan: Rugs and Resistance, 1979-2005” at The Nickle Arts Museum. The exhibition included twenty-five war carpets along with photographs by Luke Powell, selections of poetry by Khallilulah Khalili, and music by Farhad Darya. It was Rob’s vision to create an exhibition that spoke to the complexities of the political turmoil in Afghanistan. It was a wonderful exhibition and I was privileged to work with Rob.
As saddened as I am with his passing, I am pleased to announce that his collection of carpets, as well as his research and books, have been donated to the Nickle. I look forward to engaging students with this material and continuing to research and exhibit it in the future. Thank you Rob for your friendship, your enthusiasm, and your generosity. I will miss you.
Michele A. Hardy
Curator of Decorative Arts
The Nickle Arts Museum
University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
This carpet has all the characteristics of a first generation war carpet, and the central motif of the Azadi Monument (in Tehran) suggests it was made by one of the million Afghan refugees who fled to Iran in the early years of the Soviet invasion. We have never discovered the meaning of the “HEB or BEH” logo – or why it should appear in Roman script – was it a logo? or political acronym? Any suggestions welcomed…