Battleground: War Rugs from Afghanistan

January 17 to March 22, 2015
Opens: Friday, January 16 at 7 p.m.
Talk/Tour:  Friday, January 16 at 7 p.m. with Shauna McCabe, Executive Director, Textile Museum of Canada

The terror of bombs falling from the sky and landmines exploding from the earth is revealed in Battleground: War Rugs from Afghanistan. Through three decades of international and civil war, Afghans have borne witness to disaster by weaving unprecedented images of battle and weaponry into their rugs. This touring exhibition tells the story of the Afghan world turned upside down.

The exhibition presents dozens of fascinating, woven documents of social and cultural events in Afghanistan from the last quarter of the 20th century, highlighting the critical role that creative practice plays in a global context.

Modern warfare came to Afghanistan with the Soviet invasion of 1979. After the Soviet withdrawal in 1989, a decade of civil war piled disaster on top of catastrophe. Now the global war on terrorism continues to fill the land and the sky of Afghanistan with the machinery of war.

As always, Afghans depict on their rugs what they see and what matters most to them. And so, over three decades of chaos, the customary flowers on rugs have turned into bullets, or landmines, or hand grenades. Birds have turned into helicopters and fighter jets. Landscapes have filled up with field guns and troop carriers. Sheep and horses have turned into tanks.

There have never been rugs like these before.

This exhibition, curated by Max Allen, has been organized by the Textile Museum of Canada.

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Souvenir Battle Rugs For Sale in Gallery Shop
As a special attraction coinciding with the exhibition of battle rugs from the Textile Museum of Canada, the Gallery Shop has imported from Afghanistan a selection of small battle rugs for sale to visitors. Themes woven into the battle rugs, including weaponry and the movement of troops, reflect the country’s recent war-torn history.