I’ve long been drawn to Persian rugs, even when I only perceived them as agreeable and exotic domestic floor coverings, but in recent years this attraction has become an ardent interest. It developed in relation to my profession as a gallery curator, which perhaps helps to explain why I came to find tribal rugs and textiles so rewarding. Much as I enjoyed working with contemporary art, it was difficult, after a while, not to become disillusioned with some of its many pretensions. Old tribal rugs did not suffer from such inflation, at least to my eyes; in contrast to the fashion, theory, and personality that can dominate the world of contemporary art, tribal weavings seemed to be fundamentally utilitarian, based on longstanding tradition, and made anonymously. I found them straightforward and reassuring. Besides, the more I learnt about these vernacular textiles, the more vibrant and individual they became. 

The pieces in this modest display reveal the simpler side of tribal weaving from southern Iran. They are robust and meaningful things, occasionally but not always beautiful, reflections of a tough and communal nomadic life that is rapidly passing away. Nobody much uses the word ‘authenticity’ these days, especially as the virtual so often passes for the real, but this may be the aspect of these textiles that I find most satisfying. They have deep cultural roots, were once useful, and – most importantly - are visually resonant.  

John Hutchinson 11 November 2017 



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