I was delighted to be invited to the San Jose Quilt and Textile Museum, in San Jose, California, to participate in a weekend of discussions about war carpets. Two of the three exhibitions – a selection from the Collection of Patricia Markovich, of Oakland, California, plus the travelling exhibition “Weavings of War: Fabrics of Memory” (curated Ariel Zeitlin Cooke, and written with Marsha MacDowell and available here), were of relevance to the study of Afghan war carpets. In addition, the Museum had the Afghan Freedom Quilt on display, and in this catalogue has published (in both English and Farsi) the personal histories of its makers. The stories which emerge in all of these exhibitions and texts remind us of the depths to which the circumstances of war drives its victims, and yet how powerfully evocative are the forms of textile art and communication which result. The catalogue is published by the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, 520 South First Street, San Jose, California 95113-2806. Tel 408.970.0323, http://www.sjquiltmuseum.org. The catalogue includes revised versions of the essays first published by Nigel Lendon and Tim Bonyhady in The Rugs of War, 2003.
Lee Allane publishes this useful guide, with a wonderful Ali Khojeh rug on the cover. It’s a kind of Garden of Eden image, complete with snake, but the author doesn’t seem to notice it’s also a War Rug, with Kalaschnikovs amongst those wonderful animals and their keepers. And what is the figure-within-a-figure over on the far right hand side?
This from the Sydney Morning Herald, via The Telegraph, London.
Follow the link to the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, where an exhibition drawn from the collection of Oaklands CA resident, Patricia Markovich, will be on display from August 17…
Accompanying this exhibition, the Museum will also display the Afghan Freedom Quilt: Silenced Voices of the Afghan Diaspora, a collaborative project sponsored by the Foundation for Self-Reliance. The quilt is a collection of blocks made by war widows in Afghanistan and assembled in the San Francisco Bay Area. Pieces sewn for this quilt are symbolic interpretations of what human rights, empowerment, equality, peace, hardship, sisterhood and freedom meant to each individual contributor. The Foundation for Self-Reliance conducts life-skills training and economic empowerment programs for Afghan women immigrants.
Here’s the display in the National Museum of Australia.
Some would argue that the White Australia Policy, officially laid to rest in the 1970s, has emerged again in the racially biased attitudes towards refugees and ethnic profiling in the last two decades. Mahomet Allum ran out of time…