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Textile exhiubition - Intertwined: a woven history

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Monday 25th August 2008

Exquisite textiles from some of the world’s most isolated communities are to be shown in New Zealand in a rare exhibition of handmade and decorated fabric items from India, Vietnam, Indonesia and Peru.

Intertwined: a woven history of time, people and place will showcase traditional shawls, bags and wallhangings handmade and decorated by a selection of Trade Aid’s trading partners.

The exhibition, opening in Upper Hutt’s Expressions Arts and Entertainment Centre on 6 September, includes tapestries from India’s valley of Kashmir incorporating a form of crewel embroidery introduced to the region by Syrian traders in the 13th century AD. Also on show will be an antique alpaca blanket from Peru representing an art form that predates the Inca civilization, and examples of Indonesia’s warp ikat method of decorating textiles believed to date back to the ancient Dong-Son culture of Vietnam.

Within these single pieces of fabric, says Hannah Page, Trade Aid’s product development person, lie the stories, histories and cultures of entire peoples.

“These pieces illustrate the place of textiles across various cultures and provides a fascinating insight into how women record their history, life and views through craft processes,” she says. “Each piece is handmade using different designs and techniques that reflect the personality, beliefs, history and community of the artisans.”

Many of the artisans represented in this exhibition, says Page, are working to preserve and maintain craft and textile practices at a time when many of these traditions are disappearing.

Also on show will be various tools involved in the production of these textiles, including a traditional Peruvian backstrap loom and wooden printing blocks used by craftspeople in Rajasthan and other states in India’s northern regions.

This exhibition coincides with Trade Aid’s 35th anniversary. Since 1973 Trade Aid has worked to establish market outlets for arts and crafts as well as food items made or grown by some of the world’s most disadvantaged communities. In developing long term relationships with its various trading partners Trade Aid has been able to offer fair prices and terms of trade, to protect the rights of children and women and to preserve, and promote traditional crafts that provide a unique insight into remote cultures and communities.

Intertwined: A woven history of time, people and place runs from 6 September to 5 October at the Expressions Arts and Entertainment Centre, 836 Fergusson Drive, Upper Hutt. The exhibition will be launched on Thursday 11 September at 7pm followed by a talk by Trade Aid co-founder Vi Cottrell.


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