The Glasgow School of Art’s Archives and Collections are an outstanding resource for the study of art, design, architecture and art education. They comprise a wide range of material from GSA’s institutional archive, to artworks and architectural drawings, photographs to furniture, including a large number of items by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Now, in collaboration with the Centre for Contemporary Arts, a hub for visual art, film, performance, festival and literature since 1992 in Glasgow, the GSE is presenting an exhibition of works informed by textile artefacts from both of the institutions’ archives. The exhibition, ambi, will be displayed at the CCA from Friday 7 May to Saturday 29 May.
Image: Hanneline Visnes, Finnish Ornament (2017), ink/Watercolour on paper (1.20 x 1.40 m). Courtesy of the artist.
The show takes works from the textiles, fashion and costume holdings at The Glasgow School of Art Archives & Special Collections as its starting point. The GSA has specially commissioned UK-based artists and designers Rabiya Choudhry, Fiona Jardine, Raisa Kabir and Hanneline Visnes and to select one piece each and to track its histories in order to present a new story or work from it. The title of the exhibition, ambi, is Punjabi for the pattern known in Scotland as Paisley. Ambi also means 'both', allowing for multiple narratives and acknowledging that these works from the archive have diverse origins and appropriations.
Image: Rabiya Choudhry, Black Cloud (2018), acrylic on paper. Courtesy of the artist.
Rabiya Choudhry is investigating the Paisley Pattern, (which historically has its origins in Ancient Babylon or Iran) with its unique teardrop or ‘boteh’ form. The word ‘boteh’ is Persian for ‘shrub or cluster of leaves’, and the seed-like shape of paisley pattern is purported to represent fertility. Paisley pattern also became a bohemian emblem in the western world’s appropriation of it. Choudhry has collaborated with a textiles specialist to make small textiles from a series of new patterns she has designed.
To find out more about the exhibition and the other three artists and designers taking part in the show, visit the Centre for Contemporary Arts website.