Muse Contemporary is organizing a new exhibition focusing on contemporary textile arts as part of the Başkent Culture Road Festival in the capital Ankara. The Weaving Tradition/Future exhibition at Cermodern brings together female artists from eight different countries and cultures under one roof, bringing a fresh perspective on an art form that has been neglected due to its gendered past.
The foreign artists in the exhibition were invited to Turkey by Muse Contemporary under the auspices of their countries’ embassies and in collaboration with cultural attachés. Contemporary and pioneering interpreters of textile art from Finland, France, South Africa, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Italy and Turkey are represented in the selection put together by curator Ayşe Pınar Akalın.
Until recently, textiles were not accepted by the masses as a valid art medium. This situation, partly due to the functionality of the form, leads to it being accepted as a craft rather than an artistic effort. However, the biggest reason preventing textile from being taken seriously in the art world is that it is associated with a gender. Textile arts such as weaving, knitting, sewing and embroidery have been viewed as “women’s work” in various cultures throughout history and have therefore largely been suppressed. On the other hand, it should be borne in mind that textile art is one of the oldest carriers of meaning in cave painting.
Textile artists protect the art form by destroying the prejudices surrounding them and reusing the medium with powerful expressions today. In this context, Muse Contemporary wants to promote a branch of art that empowers women. With contemporary textile interpretations by artists from different cultures and countries, the exhibition conveys strong forms of expression.
At least three works by each artist will be on display at the exhibition, which will be attended by artists from seven countries in addition to Turkey. The artists in the exhibition use their handmade works as a vehicle to convey strong forms of expression on the themes of femininity and tradition.
Jenny Ymker from the Netherlands creates her own fantasy world in reality in the photographs she weaves into the tapestry. Kimathi Mafafo from South Africa carries on her grandmother’s legacy by remembering her lessons in weaving and embroidery. Lithian Ricci from Italy encourages women to collaborate on the carpets she weaves with Turkish artisans. Lotta-Pia Kallio from Finland sees the work process as a ritual in which used and broken things change their form and are born into other forms. Maria Munoz from Spain uses embroideries made from recycled silk threads to refer to the joie de vivre that we were deprived of after the pandemic. Sweden’s Petra Hultman brings together miles of threads that took countless hours to knit in her expansive lace installations. While Stephanie Laleuw from France brings her own crafted pieces to life in her embroidery, crochet and ornamentation, where she uses rich colors as well as collectibles; Suzan Batu from Turkey draws attention to the position of women in a male-dominated world with her goddesses made from Sümerbank fabrics.
The artists in the exhibition build a bridge between the past and the future. They emphasize the importance of work by reinterpreting heritage and tradition through the lens of contemporary themes such as sustainability and recycling. By creating contemporary archives, they ensure that lost values are passed on to future generations.
“Weaving Tradition/Future” runs until June 12th and can be visited for free at Cermodern.