Tuesday, May 27, 2008

May, Graduating Shows. War Rugs

May has come and gone with a number of events: OCAD Open House and short run exhibitions: ACAD, Graduating Exhibition May 15, 2008 - May 21, 2008 this year curated by Wayne Baerwaldt and the Illingworth Kerr Gallery curatorial team, Forté the 2008 Graduating Class from Sheridan Crafts and Design program May 22-June 1 at the Lennox Contemporary Gallery ,( see images below) along with other student and Graduate exhibitions across the country. [read about the students of the Montreal Centre for Contemporary Textiles in previous post]

Sheridan Graduate; Chantal Doak cast paper plater with embedded silk screen image
(under glass)

Sheridan Graduate: Julie Laschuk , home decor objects, Chair seat and pillows, revese appilque wool with embroidery floss
close up of chair seat
Sheridan Graduate: Alexia Bilyk, silk screen, cotton garments

Sheridan Graduate, Wendy Anderson Breedveld, "Seasons"
detail of "Seasons" heat forming, felting and stitching,

WARP STITCH BURN an exhibition of Nieves Carrasco (shibori paper) Valerie Knapp (mixed media textiles) and Carolynn Bloomer (ceramics) at *new* gallery, 906 Queen Street West, Toronto, May 14 - 25 ( if you didn’t have the opportunity to see it we are doing a story on the show in the upcoming summer issue of fibreQUARTERLY).

not very good photo of a detail of a collective wall presentation of 4 X 3 pieces


1. War rug showing land mine victims, Afghanistan, late 20th century, 96 x 72 cm,
Textile Museum of Canada (note missing limbs)

The major exhibition that opened in Toronto and of national importance this May was The Battle Ground Project at the Textile Museum of Canada. An exhibition in three parts, the first two: “The Kandahar Journals of Richard Johnson” line drawings and writings depicting a record of “a record of military life and the relationship between Afghans and Canadians” could be of vintage World War Two if not for the uniforms and give little to no evidence of a relationship between the foreign military presence (a nephew of mine being one of them) and the local populaces other then a more romanticized one which “line drawings” can do much easier then staged/ or conveniently cropped photographs that are most likely what main stream media feeds us. There are many images of this constantly changing, perpetually redefined military action on the inter net and in other non mainstream media outlets with a more frank and understanding meanings that aren’t sanitized like Johnson’s work which is featured in the National Post

and “Patches: Military Uniform Insignia” which quickly goes from looking like a high priced flea market display to something more powerful and disturbing in its selection of “Hand made” or rather non official patches that expose the jingoistic racial hatreds of large variety of nationalities and are almost joyful in their prided of killing the “other” regardless of who the other is. The least disturbing are the Mercenary patches, they at least are not bogged down with racial depictions, they are paid to kill, who does not enter into it, or at least that is the feeling I get from them.

Both these displays are vaguely interesting for their own value with the Military Insignia having a self revealing power that can’t be ignored, but neither necessarily set the context for the main show of TMC co- founder/ curator Max Allen’s collection of 120 “Afghanistan War Rugs”

“If nothing else, Battleground - the Textile Museum of Canada’s new exhibition of so-called “war rugs” from Afghanistan - proves that self-expression is as vital to survival as food and water. People will always make things of beauty, no matter how awful the world around them.” R.M. VAUGHAN (GLOBE AND MAIL) May 3, 2008

2. War rug with butterfly that symbolizes Russian PFM-1 butterfly landmines, western Afghanistan, late 20th century, 90 x 63 cm, Textile Museum of Canada
3. War rug with helicopter being hit with missile, Afghanistan, late 20th century, Textile Museum of Canada 4.War rug with helicopter, Afghanistan, late 20th century, 88 x 64 cm,
Textile Museum of Canada

The exhibition Runs until January 27, 2009. You should see it if you can, it is absorbing and fascinating to speculate on the reasons behind this work. To invest time to really look at these things read about the ongoing research into the production of these rugs and see images visit these websites

Nigel Lendon http://rugsofwar.wordpress.com/




Smithsonian Magazine: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/war-rugs.html


Rug Images where provided by the Textile museum of Canada and used with permission,

all others where taken by me with permission of Gallery and or artist

No comments: