Stories Without Borders: Tapestries and Rugs

Dovecot Studio: until 5th November

 

As part of the Scottish International Storytelling Festival ‘Stories Without Borders’, Dovecot displays a series of tapestries and rugs to complement a traditional storytelling event in the gallery space. However, seeing only the pop-up exhibition and not hearing the stories narrated, leaves the viewer with the laborious task of trying to understand the meaning embroidered within the tapestries.

The exhibition consists of four large and two smaller sized tapestries, five of which are hanging on the walls of the gallery and one that lies on the floor. Each tapestry has its own story woven into its fabric. In order to make sense of the stories, the viewer must read the accompanying text revealing the backgrounds of the tapestries: this is an immediate let down, as one does not have the opportunity to decipher the story themselves. For example, Naomi Robertson’s rug called ‘Kantha Diaries’ was inspired by a cultural exchange to West Bengal in 2010. This rug displays naïve imagery like cars and donkeys along with decorative borders. The ‘Golden Light’ rug, lying on the floor, is particularly interesting. The artist Garry Fabian Miller is influenced by photography and so he translates photographic images into dense masses of wool. The biggest tapestry in the room will surely attract the most attention from viewers: it is very similar to the powerful work of Mark Rothko, both in size and colour palette. This tapestry has been made by creating a screen-print into tapestry using custom dyed wools for his need.

Although the tapestries are beautifully and skillfully created, the pop-up exhibition was somewhat of a let down in the wider context of the festival. More care was needed in the selection of the tapestries on show in their relation to the art of story-telling. The seeing of the display can be enhanced with a visit to the much more impressive Dovecot studios, where artists can be seen in the entrancing act of embroidering.

 

Image Credit: Mike Wilkinson

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