Madrid Celebrates Emirati Artisans’ Contemporary Designs

Madrid Celebrates Emirati Artisans’ Contemporary Designs

Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council showcased women artisans’ work as part of the Sharjah delegation at the Liber International Book Fair in Madrid


Sharjah, October 11, 2019: Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council showcased the exceptional skills of Emirati women artisans at creating traditional crafts with a contemporary twist at the Liber International Book Fair – Madrid, from October 9 – 11, 2019.

Two embroidery artisans from Council’s ‘Skills Exchange Programme’ held live embroidery demonstrations inspired by Emirati patterns and designs, for the fair’s visitors.

A video showing contemporary weaving techniques and explaining the crafts and lives of the women artisans was running at the Sharjah pavilion for the duration of the fair.

The Council, an affiliate of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment, also set up a mobile installation to showcase and teach the Emirati craft of ‘Talli’, which traditionally consists of hand-woven braids using cotton and synthetic threads.

The installation not only showcases the traditional form of the craft, but also highlights the innovative design intervention techniques and improvements the Council has implemented to modernise and popularise Talli.

From introducing varying seasonal colours, to showcasing experimental prototypes with fabrics and materials never used before in the craft, the Talli weaves showcased at Liber Book Fair – Madrid is capturing the interest of the fair’s the visitors.

Visitors were able to try their hand at Talli-making through the mobile installation where they were taught a basic Talli pattern, one of 50 different patterns of Talli that the Council has documented and created over the past three years through its Bidwa Social Development Programme, which trains over 60 women artisans in the emirate of Sharjah.

On the concluding day of the event, the Talli braids crafted by the visitors will be woven together by the Bidwa artisans to create a unique carpet.

Reem BinKaram, Director of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment, said: “Irthi’s participation at the Liber International Book Fair follows a series of successful participations over the past year at several international book fairs as part of the official Sharjah delegations, including the Sao Paulo International Book Fair in August 2018, Turin International Book Fair in May 2019 and the Moscow International Book Fair in September 2019.”

She added, “We are immensely proud to continue to showcase traditional Emirati crafts in a completely new light. We want to show the world that we have taken our traditional hand-made crafts to an international level by giving them a new perspective. The visitor reaction to our artisans’ work proves once again that we are on the right path in our mission to empower women through the crafts and enable them to compete in both local and international markets where the true value of their work will be recognised.”

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