Stories of Syria's Textiles: Art and Heritage across Two MillenniaOctober 15, 2023 - January 28, 2024
- coming soon:
- Stories of Syria's Textiles: Art and Heritage across Two Millennia
- Rhonda Khalifeh: Immortal Stitch
Stories of Syria’s Textiles: Art and Heritage across Two Millennia highlights textiles’ outstanding contributions to Syrian culture during antiquity and the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as well as today. The exhibition features new scholarship from archaeologists, textile conservators, art historians, and heritage professionals and draws upon the knowledge of silk producers, weavers, and other artisans. Twelve years after the conflict in Syria began in 2011, Stories of Syria’s Textiles also underscores efforts to document, preserve, and revitalize Syrian textile heritage.
In the exhibition’s first section, which focuses on the ancient cities of Dura-Europos and Palmyra, ancient textile fragments will be displayed with sculptures that depict people wearing luxurious clothing with intricate embroidery and silks from China: together, these objects evoke and attest to Syria’s role at the western edge of the Silk Routes in antiquity. The second section features clothing designed and created by skilled artisans in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These textiles reveal the social and cultural traditions not only of elite city residents in Aleppo and Damascus, but also of desert nomads and villagers living in the Syrian countryside and mountains.
Stories of Syria’s Textiles also aims to raise awareness of efforts to document and preserve Syrian cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible. The continuing humanitarian and refugee crises in Syria and the related destruction and looting of museum collections and archaeological sites, including Palmyra and Dura-Europos, have received worldwide attention. In the U.S. today, exhibitions on Middle Eastern art and culture play a key role in dispelling Islamophobia and persistent stereotypes about the region. The exhibition features several examples of contemporary textiles that reflect both historical traditions and the demands of new markets and tastes, as well as photographs of Syria’s silk producers that document the last phase of the Syrian silk industry before the conflict.
Stories of Syria’s Textiles: Art and Heritage across Two Millennia is curated by Blair Fowlkes Childs, in collaboration with consulting curator Deniz Beyazit and curatorial consultant Hany Hawasly.
For more details about upcoming events and programs, download a copy of the Fall 2023 newsletter.
Explore Stories of Syria's Textiles: Art and Heritage across Two Millennia
Stories of Syria's Textiles: Art and Heritage across Two Millennia The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue co-published by the KMA and Scala Art and Heritage Publishers featuring contributions by Maya Alkateb-Chami, Blair Fowlkes Childs, Deniz Beyazit, Lisa Brody, Julia Carlson, Martina Ferrari, Rania Kataf, and Janina Poskrobko-Streciwilk. This beautifully illustrated volume highlights the vibrant history and culture of Syria through its exceptional textile production. By presenting a broad range of textiles, created between the 2nd century to the present day, the accessible text reveals Syria’s central role in the development of global art and commerce, and more broadly, the significance of textiles as a form of material culture that reveals complex socio-political narratives. Published twelve years after the conflict in Syria began in 2011, this book underscores efforts to document, preserve, and revitalize Syrian cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible. Its examination presents new scholarship commissioned from leading archaeologists, textile conservators, art historians, and heritage professionals, and drawn from the knowledge of silk producers, weavers, and other artisans. With exquisite design and an approachable narrative, this thoughtful publication provides a valuable immersive and educational experience to arts professionals, connoisseurs, and the general public.morelessPurchase Now
For more details about upcoming events and programs, download a copy of the Fall 2023 newsletter.Get Your Copy (PDF)
Stories of Syria’s Textiles: Art and Heritage across Two Millennia and its accompanying catalogue were realized with generous funding from the Coby Foundation and the Nazmiyal Collection. Additional support has been provided by the Barakat Trust, the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz, and the Director’s Circle of the Katonah Museum of Art: Mike Davies, Isabelle Harnoncourt Feigen, Vida Foubister, Nisa Geller, Virginia L. Gold, Linda Nordberg, Amy Parsons, Yvonne S. Pollack, Rochelle C. Rosenberg, Rebecca Samberg, and Richard and Audrey Zinman.
The Katonah Museum of Art is proud to be a grantee of ArtsWestchester with funding made possible by Westchester County government with the support of County Executive George Latimer. The Katonah Museum of Art’s programs are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.
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Textile with rosettes, from Dura-Europos, ca. 200–256. Wool; weft-faced tapestry weave, 9 × 12 ½ in. (22.9 × 31.8 cm). New Haven, Yale University Art Gallery, Yale-French Excavations at Dura-Europos, 1933.487. Photo: Courtesy of Yale University Art Gallery.