• New Balance launches unisex collection and continues to pay tribute to talented individuals

    Written by Fashion Tales

    New Balance introduces a new unisex collection that has taken inspiration from the 90's archives. Associated with the launch, New Balance strengthens the brand position “Fearlessly Independent,” which aims to support and lift colorful individuals to inspire others to challenge norms, dare to stand up for change and continue to be progressive.

    The classic New Balance model 997 was released for the first time in 1991 and is, although it may not always got the most time in the spotlight, a big favorite among sneakers connoisseurs. Now New Balance launches it updated version 997H, which inspired inspiration from the classic predecessor, but at the same time breathe modernity and contemporary. The collection also includes clothes, everything in unisex sizes.

    In connection with the launch of 997H, the New Balance continues its work on the global platform “Fearlessly Independent” and this time chooses to let young, fearless Swedish creators take the place and show the outside world its capacity. The campaign faces outwards are the artists Felix Sandman, the former FO & Omedlemen who is now on their own, and Luana Kiara who at Spotify has over ten million streams on his collab “Bad Boy” together with Tungevaag & Rabaan. As the first step in the creative the movement lets you release a music video to Felix Sandman's song “Miss you like crazy” where you to collaborated with set designer and neon artist Josefin Eklund, winner of the Nöjesguiden's Göteborg Award in category “Art of the year” 2018. The music video is released on 8/2.

    It feels like such a large brand chooses to highlight young creators by lifting ours stories and our art. I like that New Balance chose to work creatively and it's cool that they can tell their independent story through mine. I love sneakers so this cooperation fell very much naturally, says Felix Sandman.

    Felix Sandman has, despite his young age and in a short time, achieved great success and has a strong driving force and willingness to change. He belongs to the Swedish independent company TEN Music Group and is highly topical one of the leading roles in Sweden's first Netflix Original series, “Largest of all” released in spring, but will be premiered during the Berlin Film Festival in February. New Balance is both a training and lifestyle brand and they believe that both athletes and creative practitioners are a force for social change and wants to support and lift these in different ways through the platform.

    There are many talented individuals in Sweden who drive conversations, culture and development forward different ways. Through our launch of 997H, we are expanding our cooperation with young and fearless profiles, not only in sports, but now also in creativity and music. This is a first step in spring brand transfer and we have great ambitions ahead, says Hanna Löfberg, Marketing Manager at New Balance.

    The original 997H sneaker is now being modernized and updated in the new 997H to meet today's sport-driven fashion who draws inspiration from the trends and looks of the 90s. 997H comes in four different color settings, is Equipped with an updated sole and a tasteful upper in suede with stylish leather and mesh details. Along with the shoe, two tracksuits are also released in unisex sizes. The 997H collection is released by selectors dealer on 2/2. The prices are SEK 899 for the sneakier, SEK 699 for the track deposit and SEK 749 for wind jacket. Additional product or campaign information can be found on the campaign page at Sneakers Point.

    https://www.newbalance.se/

  • Liljevalchs - Vårsalong 2019

    Written by Fashion Tales

    January 25 - March 24

    Vårsalongen 2019 takes place in the home of Carl Bergsten, in the pink house on Djurgården and the audience can queue as usual even though the work for Liljevalch's extension is in full swing.

    All works are for sale and the participants have set the prices themselves. Most expensive this year is the Zorn parafras “Red sand” which costs one million kronor - perhaps as one provocative flash to the art market. SEK 340,000 wants The creator collective Forma has for its installation “17,000” in 34 parts. Cheapest is the animations by Malin Desme (SEK 200) and Karin Elmgren (600). The sale of works is ongoing throughout the exhibition period.

    Since 2010, the number of applicants to Vårsalongen is steadily above 2000. This one time and time a record number was sought: 3,538 applications came in. 136 artists have has been adopted and shows a total of 254 works. This year, the women are in the majority, 79 against 57 men, and the age range remains big. Youngest is an 18 year old from Stockholm and the oldest are two who is passed the 90s. The average age is 49 years.

    The jury for Vårsalongen 2019 has been composed by the artists Helene Billgren, Susanne Vollmer and Lasse Åberg, the latter also museum director,
    the chairman was Liljevalch's head Mårten Castenfors.

    https://www.liljevalchs.se/

  • Femininity and gender equality discussed at the UNTITLED Fair, Miami Art Basel 2018

    Written by Anonymous

    Femininity and gender equality discussed at the UNTITLED Fair, Miami Art Basel 2018

    By bringing art society from around the world together, Art Basel in Miami is a yearly art and culture celebration of the highest rank in the United States. Foremost galleries from North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and Africa introduce works of their modern and contemporary art masters, including new generation of emerging talents. During the art fair certain spaces in the city of Miami turning into art platforms. Spending an intensive week filled with exhibitions and art events, dj sets and private parties, I feel incredibly inspired. However, there are also a number of questions to discuss. 

    The UNTITLED Art Fair at the Ocean drive on the South Beach that through December, 5th-9th, leaves space for established art galleries and non-profit organisations, which spread awareness of significant social and political issues, engaging visitors into an exploratory conversation. One of the participators was the non-profit art platform Girls’ Club based in Fort Lauderdale, who presented a project Changing Room. Featuring performance work of Swedish dancer and choreographer, Jenny Larsson and a static installation with wearable design pieces from the visual artists such as Lucinda Linderman, Michelle Weinberg, and Natalie Zlamalova, the female art collective challenges the conventional norms for the expression of the public female identity. Seemingly, the ability of the Swedish dancer to integrate her feministic considerations into her own artistic language, has inspired American artists, what resulted in a series of grotesque garments. The question is whether the artists’ elaboration on the idea is a further interpretation or a protest against Swedish pragmatism when it concerns femininity.   Furthermore, I feel slightly uncertain concerning the Miami streets being ready to switch to the “Swedish” style of femininity, which definitely is not about girls having nice legs and a tan and radiating their sexuality as an exchange currency for success and empowerment.  

    Another intriguing performance piece at the UNTITLED fair was submitted by the Russian /American visual artist and social justice activist Ekaterina Juskowski.  Her fifty-hour long performance #NeverNotWorking, in which the artist uses the fashion accessory le tablier, text and colour, aimed to manifest the necessity of taking stand towards the repeated injustice of the underpaid domestic labourers. The performance has a deep personal connection because Ekaterina’s great-grandmother was one of such labourers, doing laundry for other people in order to make her own living. 

    Amongst the female contributors, I was able to discover artworks, created by male actors with relation to femininity and gender equality. At booth B 27, managed by the Sapar Contemporary Gallery (New York), had invited visitors to his exciting conversation. Young Azerbaijan artist Faig Ahmed showed a series of handmade carpets, woven by the Middle Eastern women. Understood as psychedelic creations, the rugs involve collectors in a multi-faceted interpretation game. “On a fundamental level, we spread out carpets on the floor to decorate and embellish our homes, the places, where gender equality begins. This is why I’d like to move beyond.” Faig Ahmed’s rugs and intertwine issues of power and subjectivity, gender and class, culture and individuality. To me, when the conditions are right, an artwork becomes resplendent.

  • VEJA: Beyond leather?

    Written by Fashion Tales

    Beyond leather? For SS19, VEJA introduces the Campo made out of the «corn waste» based material (C.W.L). Since we started VEJA in 2005, we are always looking for new sustainable and more ecological raw materials. 

    Our obsession: How can we improve the way we make sneakers?

    Going beyond leather 

    After 5 years of R&D and many failures to find an ecological substitute for leather, we finally found a revolutionary fabric. Developed by an Italian company, C.W.L. is a bio-sourced material, made from a waxed canvas with 50% corn waste from the food industry.

    As a result, this leather alternative is a 63% biodegradable fabric. Its look and touch is comparable to leather.

    A new vegan basic sneaker with a larger sole and a sharper design.

    It opens a new exciting path for VEJA : a new sneaker that is going beyond leather.

    …………………………………………………………………….

    Models available in January 2019. From size 36 to 46.

    https://www.veja-store.com/fr/190-vegan

  • Our guide to Copenhagen

    Written by Tina Rydergård

    Where to Stay

    Nobis hotel

    Our obvious first choice is Nobis, a five-star luxury design hotel set in a historic building from 1903—  transformed into a cutting edge contemporary place by Wingårdh Arkitekter. The 77 spacious rooms and suites include bathrooms covered in grey Bardiglio marble from Italy and with stuffed with toiletries by our swedish favourite Byredo and the most comfortable beds from another swedish luxury favourite, Dux. The hotel restaurant Niels offers quality modern Scandinavian cuisine, excellent service, and an breakfast buffet that feels both fresh and genuine and is the best we ever had. 

    Niels Brocks Gade 1b @nobishotelcopenhagen

    Skt Petri

    Another great choice if you want to stay right in the city centre, is hotel Skt Petri, offering a refined sense of luxury. The hotel has just finished a fullrefurbishment, including a new extension and additional rooms and is now embracing a brand-new design that reflects a desire to offer a timeless sense of laidback luxury. Also this hotel has a great taste when it comes to toiletries, here you find the danish design studio Frama, and it is the perfect match! The location of the hotel is perfect and close to “everything”. Plus this is a big hotel and somewear that you can bring your whole family and relatives or your biggest group of friends along, you will all fit. Perfect for a large group!

    Krystalgade 22 @sktpetri

    Where to Eat

    Ateliér September

    Is open from early morning to late afternoon, here you find extremely photogenic and delectable food. The menu includes classics such as granola, avocado toast, and porridge, as well as innovative and creative options like yogurt with zucchini jam and matcha, that I hear should be a real treat, I will try it next time!

    Gothersgade 30 @atelierseptember

    Apollo Bar

    One of Copenhagen’s trendiest establishments, a secluded spot by Kunsthal Charlottenborg, just off the busy canal sides of Nyhavn in an ivy-covered red-brick building. Its situated in the art space Kunsthal Charlottenborg in Nyhavn, and serves modern scandinavian cuisine all day long.

    Nyhavn 2 @apollo_bar

    Menu Space café and showroom

    Menu Space is founded by Norm Architects as a creative initiative focused on bringing creative thinkers closer to the brand and encouraging them to share their idea and stories. The halls are filled with sophisticated and classic furniture from the Danish design brand Menu. The showroom is located in the new, industrial Copenhagen neighbourhood Nordhavn, and it has its own café, where visitors can relax and enjoy the inspiring surroundings.

    Hamborg Plads 2 @menuspace

    Sonny

    A trendy hangout that attracts Copenhagen’s stylish crowd with their avocado sandwich (poached egg, chimichurri, beetroot spread, nuts, and greens on rye). Order their Sonny Combo to get the sandwich, a matcha granola bowl, and hot drink of your choice, as well as their Sonny juice (a blend of apple, ginger, turmeric, and spirulina). Here you also find the most delish banana bread, it chocolaty, and if you want you can have it toasted, with butter. The popular café and eatery has many other tempting offerings for breakfast, brunch and lunch of course, like matcha granola, bircher muesli, avocado toast, and salads, an to drink ofcourse there is, matcha and turmeric lattes too.

    Rådhusstræde 5 @sonnycph

    Mirabelle

    Mirabelle has some of the best croissants and pain au chocolat that the city has to offer. Open from early morning to late night, the small bakery and restaurant is specialized in pastry and fresh pasta made on site with organic, seasonal and local produce. 

    Guldbergsgade 29 @mirabelle_restaurant

    Bæst

    This is an organic, Italian-inspired restaurant in the Nørrebro area of Copenhagen. Sustainability and ecology are key words - and all the produce used on the premises will be certified organic. The focus is on high quality meats. The family style menu consists of different cuts of chargrilled organic meat, house-made charcuterie and wood-fired pizza slices. Above the restaurant is a micro dairy where fresh mozzarella is hand-crafted on a daily basis - technically a “fior di latte” made by biodynamic Danish cows’ milk. Beside the dairy is a salumeria, where the chefs prepare different sorts of cured meats such as salami and coppa made from organic, free-range pigs from the famous Hindsholm-farm.

    Guldbergsgade 29 @baestcph

    BEAU MARCHÉ
    Nothing beats the magical combination of food and furniture. Beau Marché offers an eclectic mix of new and vintage furniture and home decor with a sort of modern-bohemian vibe. The kitchen and small restaurant space is located in the back courtyard and serves a classic French menu with morning croissants and omelets, and chèvre chaud, green salads and cheeses for lunch and dinner. 

    Ny Østergade 32 @beaumarchecph

    Where to Shop

    Holly Golightly

    Is a luxury fashion retailer who stock some of the most exclusive brands of the world, such as Proenza Schouler, Chloé, Marni, Gianvito Rossi, but I go  here for the local treasures like Saks Potts, thats one of the most trendy danish brands right now and Pernille Lauridsen, whos usage of pears is multifarious, and her eclectic taste is expressed through designs that can be graphic and geometrical, or extravagant and imaginative. This store is truly amazing in its style and I just want to stay in here for several hours and try everything. 

    Borgergade 17B @hollygolightlydk

    Jane Kønig

    Jane Kønig's jewellery design occurs in the meeting between old and modern. She uses antique gemstones with modern materials. This provides her line of jewellery with a personal and unique touch. All the jewellery is handmade and travels are often the inspiration for the designs. During travels Jane Kønig discovers local materials such as leather and bone, which she incorporates in her jewellery along with diamonds and gemstones. Jane Kønig's philosophy is to challenge women's way of wearing jewellery and get them to experiment with their look.

    Gothersgade 54 @janekoenig

    Maria Black

    Danish jewelry designer Maria Black is an international phenomenon. Today her pieces can be seen adorning the likes of Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Beyoncé and Jessica Alba. Black’s work is based on further development of the same shapes and styles, so you can combine pieces to create a jewelry wardrobe. Every piece is handmade, every surface filed and every part set in place by human hands.

    Silkegade 13 @mariablackjewellery

    Ganni

    Dont think this bright shining star in Scandinavian fashion needs a further introduction but here is the basic version, Ganni is a Danish fashion brand, based in the heart of Copenhagen. It’s a family-driven business that thrives with Copenhagen’s casual but straightforward culture. Scandinavian at heart, it´s very inspired by Copenhagen women and even feature selected ’Ganni Girls’ as a tribute to independent women all over the world. It’s that kind of dress, or that printed t-shirt that’ll become your favourite go-to piece to avoid any outfit crisis. Thanks to the edgy designs that are super easy to wear, their items work just as well for the office as for a date-night.

    Store Regnegade 12 @ganni

    Stine Goya

    At Stine Goya you can spend all your money on printed outfits, subtle colours, classic Goya pieces with gold, pastels and peach coloured goodies. Renew your wardrobe with both casual and party clothes. The interior in the flagship store is unique and exudes Stine Goya. The materials are primarily brass, marble, coloured glass, velvet and a colour palette consisting of peach, gold and orange. That way the collection and the interior go hand in hand to create a special universe in spirit of the Danish designer.

    Gothersgade 58 @stinegoyastudio

    ArtFusion

    ArtFusion Copenhagen is a contemporary fashion brand based in Copenhagen, with sustainability as a natural part. It´s is essentially an expression of art through fashion. An aesthetic universe, where we strive to create simple, but original collections. Collections that transcend seasons and aims to surprise, inspire and compliment your personal style. The ArtFusion personality is feminine, with a bit of an edge, some sporty vibes and a lot of love. With a vision is to create slow fashion and be a positive influence in the industry as well as our society. Using high quality and sustainable fabrics, our garments are meant to last season after season.

    Online only @artfusioncophenhagen

    Hosbjerg pop-up

    It´s a Danish fashion brand with its head office in the heart of Copenhagen. A brand with the purpose of making designs in good quality at affordable prices. The identity is based on sporty references that still manage to emphasize the feminine and modern woman.

    Vestergade 11, 1 floor @hosbjerg_popup

    Norgaard paa Stroget

    Here you find the danish designer Mads Nørgaard's classics basic t-shirts, edgy denim and cool dresses with an edgy yet feminine touch. The prices are reasonable and the clothes wearable. This stores also contains brands such as Vilsbøl de Arche, Ann Demeulemeester, Paul Smith and Stine Goya. But as for me I go here for Saks Potts, what else?!

    Amagertorv 13 - 15 @madsnorgaard

    Birger Christensen

    Step into the large shop where some of the world 's most beautiful and valuable furs is made. This is also the place where Jens Birger Christensen, who is the fourth generation of the company, has decorated the store with carefully selected designers from the desire to represent the best in each segment. In both men and women you’ll find a large price-span to serve the many different customer profiles. The store's interior is characterized by the love of the sublime and the passion for uncompromised craftsmanship. Some of the many designers that are to find in the store are: Céline, Chloé, Yves Saint Laurent , Valentino, Marni, Forte_forte, Jimmy Choo, Birger Christensen, Balmain, Lanvin, Monclear and my favourite, yes you had it right, Saks Potts. 

    Østergade 38 @birgerchristensen

    Another Nué

    As the name might reveal, another nué is the second store in the nué universe that originates from Gammel Kongevej in Frederiksberg. As an addition to the small nué boutique in Frederiksberg, another nué offers a bigger selection of the great brands that are part of the fashionable nué universe. The exclusive experience of shopping in nué is well-kept at the new store, where all items are carefully handpicked by the owners according to their personal style – a perfect combination of rock chic and femininity. You’ll find a mixture of elegant workwear, grandiose statement pieces and stylish sneakers. The shop is light and open while the racks are filled with colours and prints trying their best to overshine eachother. There’s something for every occasion, whether you’re looking for high-end design or everyday favourites. The selection includes prestigious international designers, but also a lot of great, Danish design such as nué notes, Lovechild 1979, Anni Lu, Saks Potts and Sophie Bille Brahe.

    Krystalgade 3 @nue_group

    Illum 

    This is Copenhagen's premium department store. A skillfully decorated shopping paradise, offering everything from fashion and beauty to home décor and design. You will find many in store shops in ILLUM and many of the local danish designers like Stine Goya, Blanche, Baum und Pferdgarten, and also local jewellery designers like Jane Kønig, Maria Black and Pernille Lauridsen. The beauty department is full of all the international brands as well as a large collection of organic skin products. The basement is home to the Italian food chain, EATALY which is perfect for grocery shopping of the finest, Italian food and produce. You can also feast on their authentic pizza, pasta, wine and other specialties.

    Østergade 52 @illumcph

    Illums Bolighus

    Illums Bolighus is the premier centre in Scandinavia for Danish and international design. Furniture, lamps, kitchen and bathroom articles, ceramics, porcelain, silver, and glassware.

    Illums Bolighus is part of the George Jensen chain of Royal Shopping stores at the Amager Torv Square. Other Royal Shopping stores include George Jensen Silver, Holmegaard, and Royal Copenhagen Porcelain. A browse through this temple to modern design will provide imaginative ideas for gifts to those back home. You get the best in Danish design, materials, and craftmanship, known all over the world for its unique beauty and simplicity of style.

    Amagertorv 10 @illumsbolighus

    Hay house

    Hay creates contemporary furniture and design products with an eye for modern living and has a great stake in Copenhagen's position as a city of world-class design. The Danish interior design shop Hay House is located on the second floor in Østergade street, also known as Strøget pedestrian shopping street, in central Copenhagen. Here you will find straightforward and functional furniture and design pieces in unconventional shapes, but even smaller often funny things for the home - from designer pillows and towels to wall clocks and vases - can be found.

    Østergade 61, 2. @haydesign

    Poppykalas

    Poppykalas is a Copenhagen based creative studio specialising in styling, consultancy and art direction. It stages floral concepts in an original way that challenges the traditional way of arranging flowers and the sensual interaction with them.

    Tullinsgade 5 @poppykalas

    Studio Oliver Gustav

    Is located in a neoclassicist building, the stunningly beautiful locale holds the designer’s own line of made-to-order sofas and armchairs in hemp or linen, perfectly paired with unique vintage or antique objects and designs by other contemporary artists.

    Kastelsvej 18 @studioolivergustav

    Frama

    On a quiet street in the royal quarter around Nyboder, Frama Studio Store lies nestled in the old space of St. Pauls Apotek, dating back to 1878. Frama operates in various creative fields and produces beautiful designs in furniture, lighting, kitchens, books and apparel. Frama Studio Store in Copenhagen is Frama’s creative headquarters. The store showcases their timeless, modern and simple designs in beautiful contrast to the classic interiors of the old pharmacy. Being in the old pharmacy goes well with Frama’s creative line of combining the classic with the contemporary. Frama’s designs are known to focus on the use of natural materials, quality and simple geometrics. This is how they maintain the timeless yet modern look they’re known for. Frama has stores in seven cities around the world, with locations in both Mexico City and New York. Their straight-forward and extremely graphic approach to design is what makes their style so captivating and aesthetically beautiful.

    Fredericiagade 57 @framacph

    Where to Visit

    Glyptoteket

    Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in the heart of Copenhagen displays ancient and modern art in truly unique surroundings. Neighbours to Nobis hotel. Its founded in 1888 by the brewer Carl Jacobsen (1842-1914), the art museum contains two main departments combining art in impressive architectural surroundings. The Department of Antiquities houses excellent collections of Egyptian, Greek, Etruscan and Roman art, providing a delightful stroll through 3500 years of art and history. The Modern Department focuses on Danish painting and sculpture of the 19th and 20th centuries, as well as French art of the same period. Enjoy paintings from Denmark's Golden Age, and experience French Impressionism as well as more than 40 works by Gauguin. It is also possible to see the complete series of Degas' bronzes and 35 sculptures by Rodin. In the beautiful and spacious Winter Garden, you can take a breather and refresh yourself at Café Glyptoteket where you can enjoy a piece of cake, a light lunch or maybe just a coffee in the peaceful surroundings. Remember, on Tuesdays entrance is free.

    Dantes Plads 7 @glyptoteket

    SMKThe National Gallery of Denmark (Statens Museum for Kunst)

    Is Denmark’s largest art museum, featuring outstanding collections of Danish and international art from the past seven centuries. SMK is located just off of Copenhagen's Nørreport station. Here you can experience special exhibitions, the royal collections, guided tours, performances, art talks, concerts, workshops and much more. At  the SMK you can enjoy the grand masters of art history along with cutting-edge contemporary artists and the rising stars of the art scene. No other museum in Denmark shows such a rich and varied selection of art – from the European classics of the Renaissance to the overwhelming diversity of modern and contemporary art. Here you will find gems by artists such as Mantegna, Nolde, Anna Ancher, Derain, Rubens, Matisse, Hammershøi, Munch, Abramovic, Danh Vo and Elmgreen & Dragset. The SMK is especially famous for its beautiful collection of Danish Golden Age art, the country’s most comprehensive collection of Danish contemporary art – and one of the world’s best Matisse collections. See it all, or just what you feel like. Spend five hours or five minutes.

    Sølvgade 48-50 @smkmuseum

    Kunstforeningen Gl. Strand

    This is a modern exhibition hall with an extensive history. Gl Strand was renovated in 2010 and has reopened its doors for a newly refurbished and future exhibition space. The goal is to stay abreast of the newest tendencies within Danish and international contemporary art, the key objective being the support of young artists. They aim at propagating the understanding of art in general through exhibitions of contemporary art. Thus, the visions today are no different from when Gl Strand was founded in 1825. As an exhibition hall, Gl Strand does not have a permanent collection. This gives Gl Strand a great deal of freedom and allows us a curatorial openness and experimental flexibility that is different from that of the traditional museum. Throughout history Gl Strand has had a tradition for presenting the Danish audience with new art, and for putting art into new contexts and different framesets. His Royal Highness Crown Prince of Denmark is the patron of Gl Strand.

    Gl. Strand 48 @kunstglstrand

    Louisiana

    The beautiful museum, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, is located 40 kilometres north of Copenhagen and it has gained a reputation as a museum in touch with the zeitgeist of the contemporary art world. Experience international artists, concerts and lectures. This should be at the top of your list among cultural attractions to visit in the city. Stroll among French paintings from masters like Monet, Cézanne, and van Gogh, and ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman sculptures from the 19th and 20th centuries. Come on Tuesdays when admission is free, and don’t miss their café and boutique as well as the roof terrace open during the summer.

    Gammel Strandvej 13 @louisianamuseum

    Things you shoud always bring back home, after a trip to Copenhagen

    Skincare from the leeding danish brandsFor example Instant Hydrating Mask, Super3 Booster, Enriched Moisturising Body Lotion from Beaute Pacifique. Lip Cure, Enrichment Leave On Mask, Baked Mineral Silk from Tromborg. Handwash and lotion from Frama. Multipurpose calming balm; a redness-reducing face mist; a three-in-one micellar water that cleanses, tones, and hydrates, as well as dry brushes from organic Karmameju.

    Liquorice from the famous danish brand Lakrids by Johan Bülow, which contains a whole range of different flavours of chocolate coated liquorice.

  • The Azerbaijan Equation vs. Gender Equality at Miami Art Basel

    Written by Anonymous

    A Personal Essay by Ludmilla Christeseva

    The Art Basel show in Miami ran through December 5th thru 9th, introduces and re-introduces artists from around the world. Turning downtown and Miami beach area into a hub of art exhibitions and events, the primary art show in the United States brings the art society together not only for festivities and inspiration but also for great deals in the art business. After consuming art for one week on the sunlit South beach, interpretation is obligatory.

    The diverse artistic expression of The UNTITLED Art Fair on Ocean Drive in South Beach seemed to offer the most exciting art collection with a focus on gender issues. There, in booth B 27, male artist Faig Ahmed from Azerbaijan introduced his Liquid Design carpets, hand-made by female weavers from his home country. As a typical Persian rug could be overlooked, the distinct psychedelic nature of Ahmed’s works is undeniable and one is left to ponder the widely overlooked cultural and historical nature of what lies behind this traditional tapestry.  

    Since at nomadic times some 2,500 years ago at least, tapestries have been embellishing homes in the Middle East. Designing a place to live and raise our children, however, we should remember that this is the place where gender equality begins and where every object can be intertwined with issues of power and subjectivity, gender and class, culture and individuality. One might be able to see beyond the pleasant aesthetics of hand-woven carpets: they are historically produced by women, yet marketed by men.

    Sustained by traditions centuries-old and crossing cultural boundaries, women are widely recognized as the carpet weavers. In villages, women have historically woven carpets for family use and would teach their daughters these skills. Girls would have a greater chance of marrying if they were skilled weavers, textiles were a part of young girls’ dowry to their future husbands whom they, perhaps did not wish to marry. They would take great care in following traditions. Carpet weaving would serve for them as a way to share their stories about daily life, tribal culture, thoughts and perhaps, impossible dreams.

    While providing comfort, warmth as well as decor, tapestry speaks about gender inequality and unpack power relationships in society. The Liquid Design rugs by Faig Ahmed are no exception. I can see through the colour palettes that they are still produced by women but appropriated by men who try to tell the world a different story rather than that of women and carpet weaving which are almost exclusively linked.

    Being both amused and distracted by the manufactured defects, which were skilfully appropriated in the art world of the Azerbaijan artist and conceptualized as a series of handmade woolen carpets, we have gradually moved beyond the suggested psychedelic understanding. This colourful digitalization was executed by the Middle Eastern women and submitted at the world’s largest art fair by a young and talented male artist. Capturing the assiduous cultivation of authenticity and diversity in Faig Ahmed's rugs, I was wondering if his artistic exploration of the field of artisan know-how and creativity connected to today’s contemporary solutions, empowers the women who work for him, to learn by doing. In this part of the world, women are products of cultures that maintain the traditional roles of females to remain at home and know how to take care of families and raise children.  Restricted to their households, tribal art functions both as a duty and for enjoyment, but also as a language widely used to tell women’ stories, feelings and dreams. This language, however, has remained unvarying throughout generations. The yearning of a young woman to get married is still always the emphasis.

    Represented by the Sapar Contemporary gallery in New York City, Faig Ahmed has been exhibiting his handcrafted collection of the psychedelic creations worldwide, gradually earning his status as a spiritual contemporary artist. Suggesting an excited invasion of the traditions of tapestry and I would say of traditions, in general, Faig Ahmed involves ornaments in his artistic language. To me, the meaning of an ornament is, on one hand, a decoration and is a way to organize an object, but on the other hand, it acts as a constant repetition, which is regular and stable. So are the traditions, which are passed down from one generation to another, repeated, and cherished. We are not allowed to change or question them and are therefore afraid.  Using the habitual patterns, Faig Ahmed is developing trust. But what kind of message do his works actually carry? How are social values and norms communicated and discussed through his innovative approach? His disobedient behaviour found in this series of bizarre psychedelic carpets brings many women together in the production process. To me, the weaving in the works of Faig Ahmed is not about decoration or interior solutions, but rather it is about women’s rights which are rooted in patriarchy, which women unconsciously or consciously choose to sustain through generations. When speaking about carpets, we would agree that the best ones come from the Middle East, where the position of women is bound by patriarchal norms and gender inequality. No doubt, his rugs are amusing works of art, yet they are strongly associated with the gender issues of the Middle Eastern cultures.

    While Europeans for centuries eagerly adorned their homes with the best handmade carpets exported from the Middle Eastern countries such as Morocco, Azerbaijan, Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey, to name a few, I was wondering if gender inequality issues, weaved in by women themselves, could be explored, questioned, and eradicated through the same process? Some women find weaving to be an enjoyable means of passing time and a way of expressing themselves creatively, yet it has never been a feasible form of income generation. But what if we reverse the culture of carpentry through learning by doing or by creating a different design pattern together, in which we connect the traditional craftsmanship and artisan know-how with contemporary digital trends. Meanwhile, we might agree that it is important to be mindful of words, actions, and objects in our homes, which can perpetuate or combat gender stereotypes. To me, only when the conditions are right, can anything be resplendent?

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