Silk Ikats of Central Asia

Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney

Drawn from the collection of the Islamic Arts Museum of Malaysia, the Silk Ikats exhibition was developed with the aim of bringing knowledge of this little known and highly technical art form into the Australian public realm. The exhibition was a collaborative effort between the Art Gallery of NSW, the Islamic Arts Museum of Malaysia, the Powerhouse Museum and Freeman Ryan Design.

The design displays the robes on open display, seemingly floating on a series of platforms and allowing most to be viewed ‘in the round’. Light is filtered through perforated screens, recalling the contrasting exterior and interior worlds of Central Asia, while colour reinforces the natural dyes used to pattern the textiles: yellow from saffron, black from the skins of pomegranates, red from crushed cochineal insects, and indigo from the indigo plant imported from India.

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