Earlier this year, we hosted ralli artist Naina, who for four days demonstrated the process of making intricate patchwork quilts called ralli made by women in the areas of Sindh, Pakistan, western India, and surrounding areas. Tomorrow in the Focus Gallery, we open a new exhibition exploring the forms and techniques of this centuries-old tradition.
Ralli Quilts: Contemporary Textiles from Pakistan expands the concept of contemporary Asian art by looking at their form, color and pattern rather than solely how they are made and how they are used. 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 accompaniment. Requiring almost 200 hours to create, these ralli quilts are richly patterned textiles made of 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 as their striking color juxtapositions and graphic compositions speak to larger trends in textile arts.
This exhibition is only on view through March 2, 2014, so make sure to catch it before it’s gone. And if you come before January 5, you can enjoy the final days of The Art of Continuity: Revering our Elders and The Garden in Asia, too!