Thursday, October 17, 2019

Uzbek Architectural Details: "A Stitch in Tile" Exhibition, 12 - 18 October

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Tiles and tapestry at Shah-i-Zinda necropolis, Samarkand. Image: Natalie Fisher
Sydney-based needlepoint artist Natalie Fisher's latest exhibition, at Rozelle's Persian Rug Co, is a  wondrous display of needlepoint tapestries inspired by Islamic tiles and architecture.

Natalie hand stitches with pure wool to represent the intricate geometric patterns of centuries-old tiles in the Islamic world.

The two ancient techniques of hand stitching and tile-making date back centuries and are traditions still practised today.

Her works have been mostly inspired by her own travels and designed from her own photographs. She travelled to Uzbekistan in May 2019.

She says of her style: "I believe my work challenges widely-held traditional perceptions of tapestry as quaint, domestic and conservative, to portray artworks that  present the medium in a new, contemporary and bold light. 

I  perceive my style of tapestry stitching as part of an artistic movement, as my technique of applying wool to a needlepoint canvas has parallels to the way in which an artist applies paint to an art canvas".

Natalie graduated with a degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of New South Wales, which introduced her to the intricacies of flora, a subject explored in depth in her early work. She was invited to exhibit at London's Chelsea Flower Show.

As well as exhibiting at major museums and galleries in Australia, Natalie also exhibited at the Sharjah Islamic Arts Festival, UAE, in December 2017.

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Tile and tapestry inspired by Zangiata mosque Tashkent. Image: Natalie Fisher
Each of Natalie's pieces takes many weeks or months to produce. There are thousands of stitches in every tapestry. The time taken depends on the size, the complexity of the design, and the number of colours.

One of her most popular works 'Moroccan Mile' is 2.4m long, contains 346,636 stitches and took nine months to create.

She mixes different shades of colour in individual stitches to work in a modern realist style.

If you miss the Sydney exhibition, you can learn more about Natalie's stunning work on her website Art Weave Originals.

Her Instagram feed includes fabulous photos and there are videos on her Facebook page that overview her creative process. And several interesting images below reveal her techniques and pieces.
 

Related posts:
The Birth of Suzani - Madina Kasimbaeva's Exhibition, Tashkent
Robert Rauschenberg: Samarkand Stitches
In Search of Lost Paradise - Woodblock Exhibition, Tashkent
Sacrament of Magic Yarn - Madina Kasimbaeva's Exhibition, Tashkent

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Uzbek gentleman at Shah-i-Zinda necropolis, Samarkand, examining Natalie's work. Image: Natalie Fisher


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Contrast of tile and tapestry. Image: Natalie Fisher
 

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Contrast of tile and tapestry. Image: Natalie Fisher

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Selection of Natalie Fisher's work. Image: Natalie Fisher


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Natalie Fisher at the 2017 exhibition in UAE.

Monday, October 7, 2019

In Rural Kyrgyzstan, Coding Caravan Encourages Girls’ Leadership and Entrepreneurship

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Participants of the coding caravan in rural Kyrgyzstan. Photo: Mirdan Akinov
In rural Kyrgyzstan, the first ever Technovation Coding Caravan for girls has taught more than 600 girls the basics of computer programming. Launched in Talas Province, the caravan reached Issyk-Kul, Naryn, Jalal-Abad, Batken, and Osh provinces this spring.

"I used to think that only men can code and become a programmer. Now I want to study programming, pursue my career in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)," said Erkinai Omurzakova, a participant from Jalal-Abad Province.

Omurzakova and the other girls aged 10-18 practised prototyping mobile applications, and working in teams, learned to conduct marketing research, write business plans, make videos and presentations and discussed solving socioeconomic problems of Kyrgyzstan through technology.

"I always wanted to become a programmer, but others used to tell me that this career is not for me," said Alina Baktybekova, a participant from Issyk-Kul Province. "After participating in the training, all of my doubts and fears disappeared. I’ve decided to follow my dream!"

The caravan inspired rural girls to participate at the annual Technovation Challenge, the world’s largest global tech entrepreneurship competition for girls, which will take place in 2020. The coding caravan, supported by UN Women, offers girls around the world an opportunity to learn the necessary skills to emerge as tech entrepreneurs and leaders.

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Coding Caravan participants during a session on the
development of a website, Talas, Kyrgyzstan. Photo: Mirdan Akinov
"I grew up in Talas Province. The fact that I myself came from a rural area made girls believe in themselves even more," says Ainura Sagyn, a UN Women partner and Technovation Regional Ambassador.

She is also one of the top women in tech in the region and founder of WasteToWealth, an online platform to encourage re-use of recyclable waste. "The Technovation Coding Caravan is just a small seed which, I hope, will lead to empowerment of hundreds of rural girls pursuing careers in STEM."

"Unfortunately, in Kyrgyzstan and all over the world there is a low representation of women in STEM," said Ulziisuren Jamsran, Representative of UN Women in Kyrgyzstan. "UN Women promotes empowerment of women and girls, especially those who have limited access and resources, to realize themselves in STEM”.

Technovation Coding Caravan for girls is led by the UN Women partner Technovation with support of the UN Women Kyrgyzstan Country Office, US Embassy in the Kyrgyz Republic, and a network of the top talent in business, design, and technology in the world – TopTal.

This article was first published 8 August 2019 on UNWomen. 

Related posts
Kyrgyzstan Ends Statelessness in Historic First
Kyrgyzstan Instagram Star Comes of Age and Flies the Nest
Kyrgyzstan: Social Entrepreneur Finds Foothold in Tien Shan Foothills
Kyrgyz Space Program: Creating the First Kyrgyz Satellite Ever & It Will be Built by Girls 

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In Osh, Kyrgyzstan, Coding Caravan participants learn and practice coding skills using the programming language Scratch. Photo: Aikanysh Kerimkulova


Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Ikat Textiles in Art

Long before Oscar de la Renta worked with Ferghana ikat master Rasuljon Mirzaakhmedov and brought about a revival in ikat weaving, artists in the early 20th century were incorporating ikat patterns in their paintings.

Here are some splendid examples.

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The Reader by Felix Vallaton, 1922
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Portrait of K.B. Kustodiev by Boris Kustodiev, 1922

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Odalisque with Red Box by Henri Matisse, 1952



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Portrait of a Young Gentleman Seated on a Sofa, by Nicolette Meeres

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Samarkand by Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin, 1920s


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To the Train by Victor Ufimstev, 1927 (View it at the Savitsky Museum, Nukua)
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Tajik with Teacup by Pavel Benkov, 1929 (View it at Bukhara Museum of Contemporary Art).
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Zorah on the Terrace by Henri Matisse, 1912
ikat textiles paintings, ikat art 19th 20th century art, uzbekistan art textile tours
A Rich Kyrgyz Hunter with Falcon by Vasily Vereshchagin, 1871
ikat textiles paintings, ikat art 19th 20th century art, uzbekistan art textile tours
Carpet Seller (Tartar) by Boris Kustodiev, 1920
Related posts:
A 19th century Georgian Painter in Uzbekistan - Gigo Gabashvili
Robert Rauschenberg: Samarkand Stitches
Central Asia in Art: From Soviet Orientalism to the New Republics  
Celebrities in Ikat