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Fashioning an Empire: Textiles from Safavid Iran expo

Exhibitions Doha 23 Oct 23
Fashioning an Empire: Textiles from Safavid Iran expo
Qatar Museums to launch ‘Fashioning an Empire: Textiles from Safavid Iran’ expo on Oct 23.
Event Location
Qatar, Qatar
Start Time
23 October 2023, 12:00 AM
End Time
20 April 2024, 12:00 AM

Qatar Museums will present Fashioning an Empire: Textiles from Safavid Iran, an exhibition featuring a selection of extraordinary textiles from its collection, at the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) from October 23, 2023, through April 20, 2024.

The exhibition will be displayed in MIA's Sheikh Saoud Gallery and it highlights the importance of silk in the vibrant social, economic, and artistic life of the Safavid empire (1501-1736).

The exhibition is part of Qatar Creates, the year-round national cultural movement that curates, promotes, and celebrates the diversity of cultural activities in Qatar and connects residents and global audiences with Qatar's creative industries.

Sheikha Al Mayassa said, "The presentation of Fashioning an Empire in Washington, DC was a great highlight of the Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture, and a shining example of how cultural exchange brings people together and fosters mutual understanding. Nothing could have been more appropriate since cultural exchange is the very theme of this abundantly fascinating exhibition. We are now exceptionally proud to showcase magnificent works from the Qatar Museums collections, and amplify their presentation, in this enhanced version of the exhibition, for the enjoyment and education of our public in Qatar and our many visitors from around the world."

Fashioning an Empire: Textiles from Safavid Iran opens just more than one year after MIA's reopening to the public following an extensive facilities enhancement project that saw the reimagination and reinstallation of the museum's permanent collection galleries. This exhibition begins with a presentation of the geographical and historical setting of the silk and textile industry. The second part focuses on Isfahan, the capital at the time, and the empire's marketplace.

The third part explores the art and practices of self-representation in Safavid society through fashion, pairing historical textiles with contemporary illustrations and paintings. The fourth and final section, Fashion Forward, bridges the past with the present, displaying a selection of specially commissioned pieces, garments, and handbags by Qatar-based designers inspired by Safavid textiles from MIA's collection.

Fashioning an Empire has been planned under the direction of MIA curator Nicoletta Fazio, expanding on the original concept of the exhibition as organised by the Smithsonian.

The more than 100 works on view, drawn from MIA and Qatar Museums' permanent collections as well as loans from the Qatar National Library, include a wide selection of artefacts, among them 20 precious brocade silk textiles and 12 carpets from the Safavid period.

Powerful intermediaries for new artistic ideas that stimulated a new visual language, such textiles were among the most desirable luxury commodities traded across the globe at the time. The exhibition is further enriched by a set of four full-length portraits which provide a glimpse into the diverse population that characterized the Safavid imperial capital.

For the display at MIA, the exhibition's narrative has been expanded to include a new section that embraces contemporary fashion designs. M7, Qatar's epicentre for innovation and entrepreneurship in fashion and design, has engaged a group of local artists to create garments inspired by the exquisite textiles showcased in the exhibition. This part of the exhibition is supervised by MIA curator Tara Desjardins.

Textiles from Safavid Iran expo

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