Make Rugs Not War

September 18, 2008

By Stacey Ho
A shot of the "Battleground." photo by Jill Kitchener

A shot of the "Battleground." photo by Jill Kitchener

When war is a part of everyday existence, it also becomes a part of everyday culture. Driven out of home villages and encountering urban areas for the first time, mixing with disparate groups in refugee camps, Afghan weavers reflect the shared experiences of a country that has been a war zone since the Soviet occupation.

Battleground: Afghan war rugs brings together 118 rugs that reflect the lives of people cut off from Western media coverage. For curator Max Allen, the rugs, taken together, show a radical and disturbing shift towards modernity.

“The war is so spectacular and horrific,” he says, “that [weaving] traditions have been broken, except for technique. Representational tradition is broken, or exploded I guess is a better word.”

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