Muse Contemporary presents a major international project that focuses on contemporary textile art within the scope of the Capital Culture Route, the first of which will be held in Ankara. Bringing together female artists from eight different countries and cultures under the same roof, the exhibition “Geleneği/Geleceği Dokumak” (Weaving Tradition, Weaving the Future) brings a new perspective to an art form which has been overlooked because of its gendered past.
With the initiative of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Turkey, under the patronage of their embassies and in collaboration with their cultural attachés, women artists from different countries and cultures were invited to Turkey by Muse Contemporary.
The selection of artists made by curator Ayşe Pınar Akalın includes the contemporary and outstanding interpreters of textile art from Finland, France, Italy, the Netherlands, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, and Turkey.
The exhibition is open to visitors free of charge between the 29th of May and 12th of June in Cermodern.
From the gendered past of textile arts to today
Until recent years, textiles have not been widely considered as a viable art medium. This is in part due to the functionality of the form, leading it to be considered as a vocational tool rather than an artistic endeavor. More than anything, though, its gendered assignment is what has hindered it from being taken seriously in the art world. Across cultures, throughout time, fiber arts such as weaving, knitting, sewing, and embroidery have been relegated as "women's work", thus largely dismissed. It is important to consider, however, that threads were among one of the earliest transmitters of meaning, accompanying cave paintings.
Today, textile artists are reclaiming the medium through powerful expressions, dismantling our preconceived notions and prejudices surrounding the art form. In this context, Muse Contemporary aims to bring forward an art form that empowers women.
The artists coming from diverse cultures and countries convey powerful statements
The exhibition will host artists from seven countries in addition to Turkey, displaying at least three of their works. The featured artists use their art as a medium to convey powerful statements of womanhood and tradition.
Jenny Ymker (the Netherlands) creates her own imaginative world within reality through photographs woven into gobelins. Kimathi Mafafo (South Africa) reminisces of her grandmother’s teachings in weaving and embroidery and carries on her heritage. Lithian Ricci (Italy) encourages women's collaboration in her rugs that have been woven by Turkish female artisans. Lotta-Pia Kallio (Finland) sees her creative process as a ritual in which the used and the broken change shape and are born into other forms. Maria Munoz (Spain) with her embroidery pieces made of recycled silk threads, refers to the joy of life we have been deprived of after the pandemic. Petra Hultman (Sweden) brings together kilometers of thread knitted over countless hours with her large-scale lace installations. Stephanie Laleuw (France) gives life to collected items as well as her own fabricated pieces through colorful expressions of embroidery, crochet and ornaments; Suzan Batu (Turkey) draws attention to the place of women in a male-dominated world with her Goddesses made of Sümerbank fabrics.
From tradition to the future
These artists act as a bridge between the past and the future. They emphasize the importance of labor and artisanship by reinterpreting tradition and the traditional through the lens of contemporary themes such as sustainability and recycling. By creating contemporary archives of lost values, they ensure that they are passed on to the next generations.