Gardens Around the World

An Intercultural Exchange Project
between Afghanistan and Europe

The embroidery program focuses on building bridges between cultures. This comes about when the embroideries are assimilated into new creations. To further encourage this, juried contests leading to travelling exhibitions, are organised in Europe. The results show how people of different origin can enter into a dialogue through textile art.

This idea has been further developed in “Gardens Around the World”. Gardens, part of our collective history, seemed an ideal theme for an intercultural exchange. For this project, a new creative process was conceived. The adventure called for three stages: Europe – Afghanistan – Europe.
The organisations DAI e.V. (Germany) and Téxtile-Resonance (France) jointly invited artist participation. The contestants in Europe were invited to submit designs on fabric (size A3) expressing their vision of a garden. The Afghan embroiderers were to enhance the prepared fabric with their own work. All participants had the freedom to adorn the surface in their own style.
In December 2015, a jury selected 70 of the submitted works from 11 countries for participation. The initial fabric manipulation ranged from a few drawn lines, to complex dyeing and printing. Some backgrounds incorporated elaborate patchwork or embroidery.
These “works in progress” were flown in February 2016 to Afghanistan and distributed among 70 embroiderers in Laghmani. Their assignment this time was new to them: the continuation of a design of foreign origin and technique. Reflected in their work are their varying notions of gardens and aesthetics. While some women strived for a harmonious complement, others chose to bring in stark contrast.
Upon return, the works were sent to the original artists for completion. Some made no alterations. Others enhanced them here and there. Still others “tilled and replanted” the entire garden. The diversified results of “Gardens Around the World” will be sent on a travelling exhibition and documented in a catalog. The catalog lays bare the stages of the project, a process not immediatly visible in the end products. The gallery book “Gardens Around the World” (Maroverlag, 2016) invites you to be enchanted by the results of this cultural exchange. You find an excerpt of the book here. The book can be ordered here.
Selected works and the stages of their development can be viewed in the Gallery (right). Enjoy your stroll in international gardens!
„Gardens Around the World“ will be shown until 2018 in various places throughout Europe. Find out where and when in our Event Calendar.