Jay Allen Sanford 11 a.m., July 19
Garden Tapestries: Ramses Wissa Wassef Art Center
For the second year, the tapestries from the Ramses Wissa Wassef Art Centre in Egypt will be on display. The Egyptian artists vividly celebrate the flowers of the desert, villages, and Nile River in their work.
These tapestries are the legacy of an “experiment in creativity” begun in 1952 by leading Egyptian architect Ramses Wissa Wassef. He was convinced that everyone is born with artistic gifts but that these develop only through practicing a craft from early childhood. To test his theory, Wissa Wassef installed looms in a workshop in the village of Harrania, six miles from Cairo and invited village children to learn to weave. When they had grasped the basic technique he encouraged them to depict whatever they liked, laying down only three rules: No copying, no preliminary designs, no adult interference or criticism. His experiment rapidly demonstrated that any child is able to create works of staggering beauty and skill, confirming that innate creativity can grow with a child into adolescence and adulthood.
Since Ramses’ death in 1974, his widow Sophie and daughters Suzanne and Yoanna have expanded the experiment. Under their guidance several further generations of children have now mastered weaving. Currently, 30 adult wool and cotton weavers are actively work at the Art Centre in Egypt. This project has a strong impact on the community. It transformed the lives of the villagers, bringing prosperity, education, better health, self-respect and satisfaction to all and high status and equality to the women. Fifteen wool tapestries and twenty cotton weavings will be on display in the Ecke Building at the San Diego Botanic Garden. Wall signs, books, and a short documentary present the making of the tapestries and the aspirations of founder Ramses Wissa Wassef are also part of this educational and artistic display. All the tapestries are unique and woven by individual artists, whom work for up to four months on each tapestry. The Egyptian sheep wool is dyed with traditional vegetable dyes that are planted in the gardens of the art centre in Giza. Runs through March 31.
- When: Monday, January 8, 2018, 4 p.m.
- Cost: $14