Journal 22 October 2019
Putting down Roots at Mile End
An exhibition celebrating the beauty of Islamic and Medieval European manuscripts was celebrated at The Art Pavilion this month.
The exhibition of manuscripts known as Carpet Pages was hosted by the Mile End Gallery focusing on the theme of roots, with work from the next generation of artistic talent from all over the world.
Twenty-three graduates of The Prince’s Foundation’s MA Visual Islamic and Traditional Arts programme exhibited their interpretations of these exquisitely-detailed and highly-ornamented Carpet Pages, named due to the intricate rug-like patterns that adorned the manuscripts’ pages.
Carpet Pages II: Roots is curated by Vaishali Prazmari, a graduate of The Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts and Slade School of Fine Art, whose graduates also exhibited work at the event.
“Carpets are visual feasts for the eye and this second iteration in the Carpet Pages cycle promises the same,” said Vaishali. “The talented artists in this exhibition are all adept in their chosen medium and their exciting work ranges from paintings to textiles, geometry to figuration, giant sculptural pieces to tiny miniatures and traditional to contemporary art.”
The theme focused on 'Roots' and included physical structure of plant roots, the natural pigments and dyes made from roots used in carpet weaving, the metaphorical nature of ancestral roots, roots that link to a homeland, and feeling rooted in the earth or in a place, space or time.
“Roots can be the basic cause, origin or source of something,” said Vaishali. “They can be its seed, germ or beginning, and they can be its heart, foundation or essence.”
Amongst those exhibiting were artists Amber Khokhar and Natasha Mann. Amber Khokhar was commissioned by HRH The Prince of Wales to design a carpet for The Picture Gallery in Buckingham Palace, and Natasha Mann is a Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) Scholar. In 2014 Natasha was awarded the Barakat Prize for outstanding contribution to Islamic Art and is a Radcliffe Trust grantee.
The exhibition was unique, as it combined cutting edge contemporary artists and traditional artist-craftspeople to make a ‘carpet landscape’ of ancient techniques that are increasingly inspiring contemporary art. Miniature paintings were exhibited alongside large scale sculptures referencing similar patterns and motifs.
Further details can be found at vaishaliprazmari.co.uk