Accession cards

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    Selling Ikat online - and associating it with Uzbekistan

    This screenshot was taken on the webpage of an online shop, called 'Ethnostalgic', on the popular e-commerce platform Etsy. On this platform, shops from all over the world are given the possibility to sell their products to far away customers and communicate with them. The products on sale on the platform are often handmade or locally made, and these qualities are usually remarked in their descriptions in order to increase their value. With this sale model, Etsy has established itself has a successful platform for the trading of local products.

    Ajrak: A textile without borders?

    The two textiles shown side by side, are Ajraks-- the blue silk one is from Karachi, Pakistan and the blue-red is a wool-silk scarf produced in Bhuj, India. While deeply visually similar, the textiles are produced in two countries, that though border each other, are divided by political conflict that does not allow trade or travel between the two countries-- even to conduct research. The blue silk scarf is mine and the blue-red scarf belongs to Meera Curam. 

    Afghan War Carpets

    In the winter of 2021 while visiting family in Pakistan, I was searching the carpet stores of Islamabad for an affordable rug to take back to Toronto. Islamabad, with the highest number of foreign diplomats in Pakistan, is full of art and craft stores in central locations which cater mainly to non-Pakistanis. As compared to stores which target locals, these craft stores have a well-curated collection of ‘authentic-looking’ craft that appeal more to Western palates.

    The migratory life of my mums 'misar'

    This is my ‘misar’, a beautifully red and black tie-dyed silk scarf that was handed down from my nani, my maternal grandmother to my mum and is now kept close to me in my home. This ‘misar’ represents the bundles of fabrics that travelled with Indian migrants as they moved across the world, specifically in my case, on the ships that brought the first passenger Indians from Gujerat to the shores of Natal, South Africa.

    Looking back at Leiden: Where was this painting made?

    Having visited an antique convention in the Hague a few months ago, I found this postcard being sold that was labeled as being from Leiden. Supposedly a postcard of the city painted in 1934 by artist Bernard van Vlijmen (1895-1972) as indicated on the bottom left corner initials of B.V.Vlijmen, the watercolor art is drawn from the perspective of someone overlooking the cityscape, half of the painting being the city streets and its buildings with people walking by, and the other half being a canal, with everything being interconnected by bridges and walkways.

    Indigo Textile Dyeing in Daboya, Ghana

    The Indigo Dyeing Tradition in Daboya: Notes from the Field

    Daboya is a semi-urban community in the Savanna Region of Ghana. It is well noted for its organic indigo textile dyeing and weaving tradition which dates back to over three centuries. Before the introduction of synthetic dyes, Indigo was the foundation of most textile traditions in West Africa. In Ghana, most of the traditional smock dresses and related fabrics that are worn are produced in Daboya. Below, I present an account of the indigo dyeing process as observed in Daboya in May 2022.

    Unsettling Facts You Need to Know about Matrimonial Sites

    Femmes for Freedom (FFF) is a feminist organization founded by Shirin Musa in the Hague, Netherlands, in 2011. It aims to defend girls’ and women’s rights and advocate against gender-based violence, particularly, marital captivity (Femmes For Freedom, 2022). FFF noticed that several women victims that reached out to them for help had met their husbands through matrimonial sites, which is a variation of standard dating websites. However, the main focus is on those wanting marriage, instead of simply dating (Soneji, 2022). 

    An “Insular” Introspective On Memory & Cross-Cultural Exchanges

    The photograph seen here is of the Insular Ice and Cold Storage Plant during its final stages of completion located in Ermita, Manila, Philippines. Inspired by one of Mesha Murali and Surajit Sarkar's accession cards for the Centre for Community Knowledge (CCK)'s Delhi Memory Archive (see related links for the original accession card), I felt inspired to look towards some old photgraphs of Manila from the American colonial period to find some of, what they refered to as "the relational and intangible aspects of the everyday urban experience". This is one such photograph. 

    Readjusting the focus: Exercising agency through the Ballangbang cultural dance

    In this photograph from the Missouri Historical Society archive, titled by author Jessie Tarbox Beals (1870-1942) as “As God made them… Pierre Chouteau”, it depicts 4 Bontoc Igorot (an ethnolinguistic group of indigenous Filipinos from the Cordillera region of the Philippines) boys as they dance what is most likely the Ballangbang, a cultural dance performed during mass celebrations and social gatherings.

    Cloth is a woman (seeker)

    Two companion vakhs or ‘utterances’ (# 38 & 39) of the 14th century woman poet-mystic Lalla or Lal Ded, translated from the Kashmiri by Ranjit Hoskote.

    Readjusting the focus: Who was the other participant involved in the cakewalk dance?

    Attached here is an archival photograph from the Missouri Historical Society of the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, specifically of indigenous Filipinos from the Cordillera region of northern Luzon known as the Igorots. Titled by American photographer Jessie Tarbox Beals (1870-1942) as “Mrs. Wilkins teaching an Igorrote boy the cakewalk at the 1904 World’s Fair,the photographs presents two people in the image, the eponymous young Igorot boy dancing with Vienna opera singer Mrs. George S. Wilkins, as she teaches him the cakewalk, a popular dance of the time period.

    Renga between Past and Present Selves

    Clad in polka dots,

    Eyes glitter despite wet toes,

    Exchanging this love.


    After days of rain, the sunlight

    shimmers – dappled shadows dance.


    Living tradition,

    Colors bleed transformation,

    An elsewhere awaits.


    What do our bodies know that

    text cannot articulate?


    Shuttling asleep,

    Lines collapse past and future.

    Who holds the power?


    Resisting capture, its wings

    flutter, fighting off the pin.

    Function vs Form: What determines a design's value?

    The first photograph is one that depicts a Jacquard loom print card, a piece of cardboard that has been punctured with holes in order to consistently replicate a complex design on a weaving loom. This particular print card would have been used to create handmade Dutch damask linen in the 19th century, as part of the W.J. van Hoogerwou & Zonen mill whose pieces are currently located at the Textielmuseum in Tilburg, Netherlands. One such product of damask linen would be a tablecloth, which was also on display nearby. 

    Confronting Transnational Histories and Grappling with Unhealed Histories in Leiden

    This image is of the front edifice of the Museum de Lakenhal in Leiden, NL. Carved in the facade are representation of the spinning, weaving, and dyeing process for the historic laken textile produced in Leiden in the Early Modern Era. Through paintings of textiles and their production and the museum is dedicated to telling the history of the laken textile process that was historic to Leiden for centuries until production was halted in 1979.

    Fanning Frictions

    As we walked through the hall of "Asia" to reach "Africa," the Volkenkunde Museum's only displayed object from Thailand caught my eye, its embroidered metal threads glinting in the dark. Embroidered script and teardop-shaped lotus buds adorn a piece of silk stretched tight around a frame to form an oblong fan that would have been held by a monk near his face as he chanted during rituals at a temple, in a homes, or in other spaces where monks are invited to preside.

    Caps From The Tellem Caves and The utility of The Museum.

    These are images of caps found in the Tellem caves in Mali. They are some of the best-preserved textiles from west Africa and among the oldest yet found. They are part of a collection of finely woven and plaited objects dating from 11th- 15th centuries. For those who study African textile history, they are incredibly important as they are some of the oldest surviving  West African examples of spun cotton, strip woven cloth, indigo dyeing, and certain patterning techniques still practiced in west Africa today.

    Colonisation of Textiles, Colonisation Through Textiles: 2022

    A display section at the Vlisco shop space in Helmond, The Netherlands. 

    The clearly 'not-white' non-living mannequin, decked up in African cloth 'Made in Holland' is placed at the end of the factory space between the sanitizer and the toilet. Above the toilet door are photo frames carrying magazine covers and featured media showcasing Vlisco fabrics worn by living 'white' models. 



Feeling & motive

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