This Week! Pakistani Artist in Residence

Today, we welcomed acclaimed ralli artist Naina as she began her time as an artist-in-residence here at Pacific Asia Museum. Visiting from Pakistan’s Sindh region, Naina is demonstrating the creation of these traditional quilted textiles. She’ll be here through the weekend practicing her craft alongside completed pieces, some of which are for sale. Our website has her full schedule.

Naina comes to Pacific Asia Museum after appearing at the prestigious Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, the largest international folk art market in the world. Born and raised in a small village in Pakistan, Naina has spent decades on her craft alongside other women from her village through Lila Handicrafts, a Pakistani cooperative of women from a small village in the Thar Desert region of Pakistan, Tehsil Diplo. The proceeds of their work goes directly back to the women and towards educational opportunities for children in the region. In 2011, Naina became the first member of Lila Handicrafts to travel internationally to appear alongside her work at the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market.

Ralli quilts are made in Pakistan and western India by women artisans, many of whom do not travel out of their own village without male supervision. Requiring almost 200 hours to create, patchwork ralli quilts are richly patterned textiles made of old cloth from discarded fabrics. The cloth is torn or cut into geometric shapes, then stitched together on a palm mat using a large needle and cotton thread with patchwork, applique and embroidery techniques. Traditionally, ralli quilts were used as a form of currency, and would be included in a woman’s dowry. Today, they have become increasingly popular on the commercial market.

Naina’s visit is a great opportunity to watch the creation of a traditional ralli quilt. But if you can’t make it in the next few days, don’t despair– in December, we’ll open a new exhibition focused entirely on this beautiful art form. Stay tuned! ~CM

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