Friday, Jun 19, 2020
4:00 pm PST
View archived lecture here, available for the duration of the Virtual Lecture Series.
In the crowded center of Historic Cairo lies a covered market lined with wonderful textiles sewn by hand in brilliant colors and intricate patterns. This is the Street of the Tentmakers, the home of the Egyptian appliqué art known as ‘khayamiya.’ The Tentmakers of Cairo brings together the stories of the tentmakers and their extraordinary tents—from the huge tent pavilions, or suradiq, of the streets of Egypt, to the souvenirs of the First World War and textile artworks celebrated by quilters around the world. It traces the origins and aesthetics of the khayamiya textiles that enlivened the ceremonial tents of the Fatimid, Mamluk, and Ottoman dynasties, exploring the ways in which they challenged conventions under new patrons and technologies, inspired the paper cut-outs of Henri Matisse, and continue to preserve a legacy of skilled handcraft in an age of relentless mass production. Drawing on historical literature, interviews with tentmakers, and analysis of khayamiya from around the world, Professor Sam Bowker will reveal the stories of this unique and spectacular Egyptian textile art, whose history survives through the legacies of American tourists and art collectors. Blending illustrations and real examples, this presentation surveys historic and contemporary khayamiya so that new examples may be discovered.
Dr. Sam Bowker is a Senior Lecturer in Art History and Visual Culture for Charles Sturt University, Australia. His research since 2012 has focused on the history of the Tentmakers of Cairo and the textile art of ‘khayamiya’ (Egyptian Tentmaker applique). He and Seif El Rashidi co-authored ‘The Tentmakers of Cairo’ for the American University in Cairo Press (2018), and he also curated the survey exhibition ‘Khayamiya: Khedival to Contemporary’ for the Islamic Art Museum Malaysia (2015-2016). He has served as a scholar-in-residence for the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art (2015), a travelling fellow for the Hamid Bin Khalifa symposium (2017), and he teaches Australia’s only university subject on Islamic art and design, which has won awards for its innovative and empathic pedagogical principles.
Image Credits: “The Garden Panel”, circa 1980-1990s. Photograph by Timothy Crutchett.
This talk is part our COVID-19 response lecture series. Since no one can travel, we’re bringing stunning art from worldwide locations to your family at home. These lectures are hosted by experts the world (and US) over, from Australia to New Delhi and Los Angeles to New Jersey. The times are all listed in Pacific Time (PDT) as the university is based in California. Please feel free to direct any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.