Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Some highlights from earlier last week

May 18th-ish
There are countless things I have decided to say yes to- despite not really knowing what would happen, what step to take next, or frankly what I was doing. I am very glad that when the opportunity to work in Kuwait opened very unexpectedly well over a year ago, that I said yes.
I have been able to work through the US Embassy during these two trips to Kuwait, and actively share and work alongside them with the initiatives we are promoting. This morning, Sheikha Altaf and I were able to meet with the cultural affairs department to share the upcoming Weaving Stories exhibition with them. Charles Cole (Counselor for Public Affairs), Nadia Ziyadeh (Cultural Affairs Officer), and Shaimaa Ebrahim (Cultural Affairs Specialist) were gracious and very open to hearing our ideas and share their interest. I find that work the Embassy promotes very valuable and necessary. It allows distinct cultures to collaborate, share common interests, and in our case, find ways to work together for a common goal.

When days start out this well, they only get better.

A stop at the Blocks and Indian Heritage (this deserves its own blog post) then indigo dyeing at the Sadu House for the upcoming Woven Paintings workshop!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

New things happening at Al Sadu House

Al Dowayan's work in the foreground, with Sadu weaving just behind.
I admit I was thinking that I would hit the ground and start writing...but I am days behind!

From Tuesday - It was great to land (although it was 3:30am) and within the next 6 hours,be in one of my favorite places, the Beit Al Sadu. During my last trip to Kuwait in Januray 2015, I was able to be introduced not only to this organization and weaving center, but to Sheikha Altaf Al-Sabah, who has such vision and passion for textiles. Once again, I was surrounded by sadu textiles, eating dates (which is a magic jet lag cure) and meeting once again with an amazing group, including Sheikha Altaf, Shelby Allaho and Manal Al Dowayan.
I felt as though no time passed from my last visit to this one. I was thrilled to walk in and see a work by Manal, titled Sidelines, prominently displayed. Here is a little about the work, in her own words.

"There exists a generation of woman who were, at one point, known artisans among their communities and through the fast paced modernization of Saudi Arabia and the active urbanization of Bedouins, have lost their craft and fallen into poverty. I aim to highlight the unique beauty of their craft but juxtapose it against the neglect that these women have suffered."
A detail of Bisht Better Have My Money by Aziz Al-Humaidhi
Muneera Alsharhan in front of her work for SADI. She is a trained metalsmith but decided to explore a new media through this project.
This was just one of the works from the latest initiative at Al Sadu, called SADI, Sadu Art and Design Initiative. This project was curated by artist Cheyda Oskay. For several months, she met once a week with Kuwait based artists and designers to explore sadu weaving - and as artists, to create new work in response to what they were learning, felt, or discovered. I arrived just in time for the opening that evening, being able to meet many of the artists and hear about their work. In many cases, they explored new media, allowing this initiative to broaden their studio practice.
There are so many great works from the exhibition, but I only seemed to photograph the few you see now. Check out @saduhouse on Instagram for profiles on each artist.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Just landed...

I just landed early this morning to a full day with the Al Sadu House and so many wonderful people. New posts to come in the next few days!
Until then, you can follow me on Instagram @leslirobertson for a little more about the day.