MARCH 29-31, 2015 LA CONVENTION CENTER
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The RUG SHOW in LA Congratulates Our Three DOMOTEX Carpet Design Award Winning Exhibitors • Art Resources — Best Traditional Design • Ayka Design — Best Studio Artist Design & Best Innovation • Wool and Silk Rugs — Best Modern Collection
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On the War Path — (About War Rugs)
e have all seen “war rugs,” and respond to them according to our individual natures and what we find interesting in rug imagery. For example, I own an antique Mahal in which a “div” with horns holds up a square building. I don’t know the story behind this image, but I like the rug. Someone else, however, someone who takes “devils” and “divs” quite seriously, might mark an “X” on my door for owning such a rug. To each his own …
And so it is, I suppose, with “war rugs,” which recently received a publicity boost from the Atlantic
central part of Afghan life that the weavers can’t help but include tanks and planes and burning twin-towers—and now drones—as central design features in their rugs.
At first, I accepted this outlook without questioning it, but then a light went on, placing me, so to say, “on the war path” in relation to these rugs and how they are marketed. The first “war rug” images may have honestly communicated cultural preoccupations current at that time, while the Soviet Union still occupied
“The first “war rug” images may have honestly communicated cultural preoccupations current at that time, while the Soviet Union still occupied parts of Afghanistan and war was a fact.” Monthly and also from National Public Radio. I’d like to see Afghanistan receive credit for something, but these “war rugs” set me wondering: how, precisely, are we supposed to view these rugs? There is more than one line-of-sight, always, but how are we supposed to view them? Aren’t we to see them as “folk” images, that is, designs springing from the life of the weavers who make them, reflecting the life of a people? The assumption is that war is such an unending and
parts of Afghanistan and war was a fact. But no sooner did these early examples sell than—guess what?—producers began making them in larger quantities, to satisfy a lively market. Naturally, producers and those selling these rugs did not announce, “We’ll make as many of these as you will buy!” They let those in the West who liked these rugs assume, well. . . whatever they wished to assume. And so now there are even drone images, clearly conceived on computer software,
The RUG SHOW in LA — SPRING 2015 To be continued on page 25
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Continued from page 19
ON THE WAR PATH (About War Rugs) — by James Opie but offered as authentic cultural artifacts. (How can we see they were computer-designed? Look at the perfect symmetrical, non-improvised elements.) So, then, do these rugs truly reflect Afghan cultural realities and Afghan weavers’ preferences, or are the motivations underlying them quite different?
One could say, “Well, perhaps the weavers are not making up these designs. Maybe that point is correct. But isn’t it okay, as long as someone pays the weavers? To this I say, “Certainly.” And if they are paid on-time, so much the better. But we need to be clear that weavers at “folk” levels are not behind these designs, and have not been for years. These images appear in rugs due to something in our natures and interests, more than in theirs. Individuals in the West are projecting a distorted picture of Afghan sensibilities onto the Afghans themselves. In simple terms, buyers of these rugs are buying products of their own projections!
It is embarrassing that the Atlantic Monthly, NPR, and any other media promoted these rugs as news, rather than looking at the phenomenon of “war rugs” more penetratingly. These are commercial images that say more about people in the West than about weavers in the nation of origin. These are not true “Afghan” products, and nothing I saw in Afghanistan during repeated visits in the 1970s or during my visit last year induced me to think otherwise. When I think of Afghanistan I don’t picture war. I picture families, going about their lives, working, weaving, raising children, enjoying their holidays, and, yes, hoping that undeserved disasters do not befall them, as happens in so many nations now. Maybe Afghan villagers are fortunate not to read newspapers, or stayed glued to the evening news. Hour for hour and person for person, Afghanistan may well be one of the most peace loving places on earth. Making images of war that paste the word
“When I think of Afghanistan I don’t picture war. I picture families, going about their lives, working, weaving, raising children, enjoying their holidays, and, yes, hoping that undeserved disasters do not befall them.” While I am not saying, “Call in the cops!” or even, “Call in the psychiatrists,” I wish to point out that weavers returned to Afghanistan from Pakistan and Iran because their nation was sufficiently stable to permit them to conduct family life in their home villages again. They didn’t return saturated with impulses and images related to war. They returned eager to live peaceful family lives— which they do! Regardless of how their nation is portrayed in our media, the great majority of Afghans, including weavers, go about their lives securely and without the slightest interest in war. The computers that made these designs are programmed that way, but the vast majority of Afghans are not.
“Afghanistan” over them will not help bring this long suffering nation closer to the stability Afghans seek, deserve, and in many corners of their nation, are now creating.
DISCLAIMER. The opinions expressed in this articles are those of the authors and do not constitute an official statement by, nor necessarily represent the views of The Rug Show or its members.
The RUG SHOW in LA — SPRING 2015
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Los Angeles Convention Center 1201 S Figueroa St Los Angeles, CA 90015 Conveniently located in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Convention Center is easily accessible by car and public transportation â€” neighboring the Convention Center is downtown L.A.â€™s sports and entertainment district, L.A. Live.
LOS ANGELES CONVENTION CENTER
SHOW HOURS SUN. 9-6 MON. 9-6 TUES. 9 - 12
HOTEL DISCOUNT A block of deeply discounted rooms is available for our buyers at the Ritz-Carlton at LA Live. The RUG SHOW rate is $99 per night/2 night max. Visit www.therugshow.com for the direct reservations link. Additional nights are available at non-subsidized rates. Space is Limited.
KICK OFF PARTY Kick off The RUG SHOW Sunday evening, March 29 at our Opening Day Cocktail/Dinner Party. Registration is REQUIRED at the LA Convention Center during show hours to obtain your credentials and for complete venue details.
INFORMATIVE SEMINARS On Monday, March 30, The RUG SHOW will feature valuable CEU approved seminars for ASID (American Society of Interior Designers) and IIDA (International Interior Design Association) Members. Visit www.therugshow.com for course details and credits.
WINE RECEPTION Join us Monday afternoon at the LA Convention Center as we host a wine reception for our attendees.
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MARCH 29-31, 2015