Connecting Threads

In 2016, Dr Jenny Balfour-Paul, a researcher, collector of worldwide textiles and expert on indigo dye, offered the Pitt Rivers Museum a selection of textiles purchased during her travels in the Middle East and North Africa during the 1970s and 1980s.

The volunteers in the wonderful Multaka project have spent several months with the textiles, and these photos show the process of them creating a small exhibition - deciding on the content, the presentation, the multi-lingual labelling and the title - whose opening I went to this morning.

The volunteers were unanimous that the centre of the display would be a beautiful red-embroidered dress from Syria and from there they decided that the theme of their exhibition would be weddings in different parts of the world. Suheer showed pictures of the intricate henna decoration of the brides' hands for weddings in Sudan, Nirin added the delicate silk shawl that she wore at her own wedding in Syria, Hussein talked about his experience working in a machine-embroidery workshop in Damascus.

While I was taking this picture - learning about some of the processes that are involved in putting an exhibition together and, once again, registering what a superb hands-on, skill-enhancing project Multaka is, the photographer who had originally taken these photos for the museum records, and who was documenting the opening, also for the museum records, took a photo of me photographing his photos, for, yes, the museum records!

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