The various exhibitions
Exhibitions bring new life to the embroidery projects. For several years now there have been Europe-wide calls for submission of work to various exhibitions. Works chosen by a selection panel have been traveling to a number of European locations.
While the embroideries purchased from the Afghan women are complete in themselves they are not necessarily final pieces. They can be incorporated in the making of functional objects, such as bags or cushions (see ‘Processing’), and be used to great effect in decorative artwork. In all cases the brief is to incorporate one or more embroideries into one’s own personal project, i.e. to take the work of the Afghan women as a seed of inspiration and re-appropriate it as an integral part of one’s own work.
However, the tasks set in the competitions always are about incorporating one or more embroideries in your personal work, using the Afghan embroidery as a seed of inspiration, acculturating it and integrating it in your own creation.
Such exhibitions make a strong impact. The European participants who took up the challenge, have indeed been inspired by the Afghan embroideries, and that is evident in their work.
The first exhibition ‘Floral Fantasies’ will be presented here in greater detail than subsequent exhibitions – in these works, no longer on show, the very first squares imported from Afghanistan can be seen and – in comparison to current produced embroidery – they give a good indication of the development of the project work.
The second exhibition ‘Threads Joining Women’ as well as the third exhibition ‘Afghanistan – Inspiration’ both present the results of a EU-wide competition. Shomali embroideries, i.e. squares from the first project, were the starting point for the works.
The fourth exhibition ‘Creative Threads – form Afghanistan to Europe’ again presents the results of a EU-wide competition, here, however, rhombuses of silk from the second embroidery project in Sharak were the seeds of inspiration.
2013 saw a daring new project: the process was reversed. For the first time Afghan embroiderers embroidered on works with their own ideas which were begun in Europe. The exhibition project ‘Out of the Kitchen: jars, bowls and utensils’ suggested a topic that is relevant to both cultures and thus created a thematic connection between Europe and Afghanistan.
This process was repeated in the exhibition “Gardens Around the Worl“. Textile gardens travelled the world. Enjoy!