Identity& Society

Textiles convey messages about individuals and groups of people.

Images, patterns, colours, materials, and ways of making suggest belonging and kinship, social connections, and deep understanding of individuals, cultures, and subcultures. Textiles shape us as much as we shape them; they can conceal us and they can make us visible.

01. Programs

Online Presentation: Printed Textiles from Kinngait Studios tour with Nakasuk Alariaq

On Saturday April 17, exhibition curatorial consultant Nakasuk Alariaq traced the roots of contemporary art in her hometown of Sikusiilaq or Kinngait and shared personal anecdotes on the artists featured in Printed Textiles from Kinngait Studios.

Nakasuk Alariaq is an Inuk-Finnish Canadian who was raised in Sikusiilaq (Kinngait/Cape Dorset). She has completed her Master’s in Art History and Curatorial Studies at Western University where she focused her thesis on Inuit self-representation in arts institutions. In her master’s thesis, Nakasuk discussed contemporary Inuit art from her hometown and presented it as an exhibition “Sanaugavut: Art from Kinngait” at McIntosh Gallery (Western University) in the spring of 2019.

The image depicts samples of red work embroidery

Online Workshop: Embroidery Sewing Circle with Catherine Heard and Shiemara Hogarth

On Sunday May 9, Heard and textile artist Shiemara Hogarth lead an online sewing circle to embroider patches for Redwork: The Emperor of Atlantis, and participants were encouraged to engage in dialogue and idea exchange.

This program is the second of two programs featuring Redwork: The Emperor of Atlantis and is in partnership between the Art Gallery of Windsor, the Niagara Artist Centre, and the Textile Museum of Canada. On Sunday April 11, 2021, 2–3 pm, the Art Gallery of Windsor hosted an online conversation between Hogarth and Heard on how themes of political activism, collaboration, and community are manifested in Redwork: The Emperor of Atlantis.

02. Supporting Content

Collections Spotlight: Prayer Rug

“Growing up in a Turkish household, rugs and prayer rugs were very common in our home and in the homes of our friends and family. Rugs held a dual meaning for my family, being both decorative and sacred. We were able to walk freely across the rugs that spread out over the floors of our home without a second thought. However, the prayer rugs which belonged to my anneanne (grandmother), were not to be touched when not in use for prayer. Prayer rugs are, by their namesake, used during prayer, which we call namaz in Turkey.

Prayer rugs function as a part of abdest (as we say in Turkish), or Wuḍū, the ritual cleansing and purification of parts of the body. Once abdest is completed, prayer rugs are used to maintain cleanliness between the person and the ground.

The rug from the Museum’s collection was created sometime in the early 20th century. It has a beautiful representation of the Kaaba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. While in use, this rug would have been directed physically towards Mecca itself; for example, on the North American continent, we pray eastward. To parallel, the photo is an image of me as a child in the 90s, posed on one of my grandmother’s prayer rugs. Like the one in the Museum’s collection, my grandmother’s also had an image of the Kaaba. The Kaaba is a holy building at the center of the Masjid al-Haram, the most important mosque for those who practice Islam. This mosque is located in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

Islamic objects are often adorned with geometric patterns; representations of ornate floral designs and religious script with a strong eye for symmetry. Even across millennia, these familiar motifs appear again and again in Islamic art; a representation of the intricate relationship between all living things. Islamic art inspired me to study the history of art and the museums who care for these objects – projecting me into my career today”.

Defne Inceoglu, MMSt, Curator and Artist