See the portable palace made of recycled stuff

By DG Staff

SHARJAH 21 September 2019: The Sharjah Museums Authority (SMA), is celebrating the heritage of the Mena region through a portable ‘palace’ made of recycled fabric using the art of reverse Appliqué.

The ‘T-Serai’ (an acronym for Textile Systems for Engagement and Research in Artistic Impact), exhibition will open on 25th September, and will run through 7th December, at the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation.

It features the work of Bosnian Austrian artist, Dr. Azra Aksamija, an architectural historian and director of Future Heritage Lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT, USA.

Over six months, Aksamija and a team of her lab collaborators and students have produced the intricate designs using the reverse Appliqué technique, referencing a textile craft that was extensively used during the Ottoman Empire and in the Egyptian Khayamia. Appliqué is an ancient sewing craft, where the designs are achieved by layering small pieces of fabric onto a separate base fabric to form beautiful designs. Reverse appliqué involves cutting away pieces of layered fabric to reveal shapes and colours layered underneath.

10-week Show

The ten-week exhibition showcases the installation in the form of a portable palace for transcultural futures inspired by the tent traditions of the Mena and developed with support from SMA by a team of MIT Future Heritage Lab researchers, students, and refugee learners across the USA, Europe, and the Mena region.

“SMA is delighted to have commissioned this extraordinary work that experiments with the convergence of contemporary art and traditional Islamic design,” said Manal Ataya, Director-General of SMA.

“SMA hopes the exhibition will encourage artists to experiment with different materials and ideas, as we are committed to bringing new forms of artistic dialogue to inspire our audiences,” Ataya said.

A discussion on the opening night will examine the role of art and architecture in transforming conflicts and bridging cultural divides.