Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Egyptian tentmaker exhibition

Egyptian Appliqué in Wagga Wagga

‘Khayamiya’ is Egyptian Tentmaker Appliqué, a rare and spectacular Islamic art form that is rarely seen beyond Egypt. “Khayamiya: Khedival to Contemporary”, curated by Dr Sam Bowker, is the world’s first exhibition to reveal the story of the Egyptian Tentmakers from the Late Ottoman Empire to present-day Cairo.

 This free exhibition will be shown in Wagga Wagga from August 26 to September 12, 2013, in the HR Gallop Gallery (in Building 21 off Carpark 2), Charles Sturt University Campus, Wagga Wagga, NSW.

For hundreds of years, Egyptian Tentmakers designed and made hand-sewn appliqué screens called ‘Khayamiya’.  These intricate artworks adorned the spectacular tents of the Ottoman Empire and the Egyptian Khedives. In Cairo today, magnificent screens still form colourful backdrops for street parties, weddings, Ramadan celebrations, political rallies, funerals and religious events. Sadly, these screens are now made of cheap printed fabrics that imitate real Khayamiya appliqué. The historic hand-made art of the Tentmakers now faces extinction.

 The exhibition “Khayamiya: Khedival to Contemporary” is part of an international project to recognize the work of the Egyptian Tentmakers as skilled craftsmen and artists.  Dr Sam Bowker, an Art Historian at Charles Sturt University, is one of several Australians supporting this collaborative project. His research seeks to discover and reveal the art history of Khayamiya.

 Visitors will see how the Tentmakers found new audiences as Egyptian society changed. Dramatic suspended tent panels, some covering entire walls, contrast with charming Egyptian souvenirs from the 1930s. A series of short films further explain the context of Khayamiya, including a preview of the Australian documentary by Kim Beamish, “The Tentmakers of Chareh el-Khiamiah”, to be launched in 2014.

Sam Bowker will host a public conversation in the HR Gallop Gallery at 1pm on Tuesday August 27, followed by a lecturing tour of the UK. His book, “Khayamiya: The Art of the Egyptian Tentmakers”, will be published in 2014.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting about what I am certain is an extremely well put together exhibition. I wish I was able to visit but am happy to hear that it is going well.

    Thank you also for mentioning our film 'The Tentmakers of Chareh El Khiamiah' and if people are wanting find out more about the film please take a look at our website www.tentmakersofcairo.com


    Kim Beamish
    The Tentmakers of Chareh El Khiamiah