For 2017 onwards we are planning to develop the “Silk Road Project”, working with PingHub Middle East and PingHub UK, to secure gallery collaborators all along the silk road originating from China through the Middle East and parts of Russia to Europe.
Please get in touch with us on email firstname.lastname@example.org or mobile: +44 (0) 7944 571524, if you would like to participate in this project, especially if you are able to sponsor, provide venues, contribute resources, labour, contacts, knowledge and logistical support to enable us to develop and operationalise this project.
“The Silk Road or Silk Route was an ancient network of trade routes that for centuries were central to cultural interaction through regions of the Asian continent connecting the East and West from China to the Mediterranean Sea.
While the term is of modern coinage, the Silk Road derives its name from the lucrative trade in Chinese silk carried out along its length, beginning during the Han dynasty (207 BCE – 220 CE). The Han dynasty expanded Central Asian sections of the trade routes around 114 BCE, largely through missions and explorations of the Chinese imperial envoy, Zhang Qian. The Chinese took great interest in the safety of their trade products and extended the Great Wall of China to ensure the protection of the trade route.
Trade on the Silk Road played a significant role in the development of the civilizations of China, the Indian subcontinent, Persia, Europe, the Horn of Africa and Arabia, opening long-distance political and economic relations between the civilizations. Though silk was certainly the major trade item exported from China, many other goods were traded, and religions, syncreticphilosophies, and various technologies, as well as diseases, also spread along the Silk Routes. In addition to economic trade, the Silk Road was a route for cultural trade among the civilizations along its network.
The main traders during this time were a collection of the following countries: Chinese, Arabs, Turks, Indians, Persians, Somalis, Greeks, Syrians, Romans,Georgians, Armenians, Bactrians, and (from the 5th to the 8th century) the Sogdians.
In June 2014 UNESCO designated the Chang'an-Tianshan corridor of the Silk Road as a World Heritage Site”
PINGHUB branches out to the Middle East with new exhibition The Tree Of Life being hosted in Malaysia
The Tree Of Life
14th - 16th October 2016
The secret in the Garden is the secret of Life
KEENI KESSLER GALLERY, 21 GALLERY & ART ROOM (downstairs)
Name of masterclass: Introduction to Persian Motifs and Design
Class: Design with motifs for a scarf or wrapping cloth
Tutor: Dr. Mojgan Jahanara - a professor at the University of Tehran, specialised in Ancient Motifs and Textiles
Location: Keeni Kessler Gallery, 21 Nagore Place, Penang, Malaysia
Contact: Adrian Kessler - 014 250 62 92
The course will start with an introduction explaining the origins and meaning of the Persian Motifs (The Garden of Life - The Tree of Life) then will proceed with the practical creation of a scarf or wrapping cloth with simple motifs - over 2 days.
All necessary materials will be provided.
STORY OF THE GARDEN
The secret in the Garden is the secret of Life. The delicate lines create abstract forms of the elements of Life. It narrates our self and we create the space of different hidden meanings by telling the story of our garden. Our story covers a surface on a piece of fabric which helps us travel our daily lives.
There are flower blossoms, there are trees growing, birds singing ,”life in the garden”. The creation of every single abstract form in the garden is the creation of self, a creation of a universe. Our story is a form, covers a surface and makes our daily lives colourful.
Open to all:
13.10.2016 Thursday 3.00 pm to 4.00 pm Introduction
14.10.2016 Friday 10.00 am to 1.00 pm Practical Day 1
15.10.2016 Saturday 10.00 am to 1.00 pm Practical Day 2
16.10.2016 Sunday 10.00 am to 1.00 pm Conclusion
*On the 16th October from 7.30 pm onwards, ZhengHe Muse um & Restaurant will be hosting a private Middle Eastern themed dinner for the participants, followed by opportunity for networking and also an exhibition to showcase and sell.
CONTEMPORARY IRANIAN ART RIDING THE NEW WAVE
For the last forty years, conversations regarding contemporary Iran have been mostly concerned with country’s political context and wider turbulent atmosphere of the Middle East. Iran’s reputation as one of the major partakers in the history of civilization and a country that has produced some of the world’s most outstanding art has been stained in the last few decades while Iranian artistic production has been overshadowed by revolution, war, sanctions and most recently the nuclear deal. The media-constructed image of Iranian society has made it particularly difficult for people abroad to associate Iran with progressive artistic tendencies and thriving cultural scene that can compete with those of the West. In this regard, it is no wonder that for many viewers it comes as a surprise to discover how rich, diverse and sophisticated Iranian contemporary art truly is. In recent times, the art world has witnessed an increasing interest in modern and contemporary Iranian art, with numerous exhibitions hosted outside the country, exploding prices at auctions, and publications that tend to shatter the distorted image of Iranian culture as being regressive and mired in tradition. Contemporary Iranian art is riding the new wave and emerging talents are playing a major role in changing the common perceptions of Iranian art and culture.
A Brief Look into the Post-Revolutionary Iranian Art Scene
The diversity and heterogeneity found in Iranian contemporary art come as a result of the constant changes in socio-political dynamics of the country in the last four decades. Art historian Hamid Keshmirshekan, one of the leading authorities on contemporary Persian art, explains the current situation on the Iranian art scene by highlighting two main aspects that dominate Iranian art and culture as a whole – incorporation of elements of Euro-American modernity and adaptation of existing art forms. From the conscious appreciation of national identity and search for the authenticity of culture to the intellectual questioning of cultural essentialism and rejections of any specifically Iranian references, art in Iran has crossed a long path since the years of the Revolution. In one of his essays Hamid Keshmirshekan writes: “Through their artistic discourses many young artists seek to disengage themselves from the nationalist agenda which has long dominated aesthetic discussions of Iranian art; instead invoking universalizing and cosmopolitan discourses on websites and elsewhere in order to position their art firmly within a global art scene.” The new generation of Iranian creatives, born in the years after the Revolution, is more critical toward expectations to produce ethnic or political art, more inclined to work outside of tradition and closer to the framework of global contemporaneity.
New Generation of Persian Artists
Mahsa Mergenthaler-Shamsaei, founder of the online platform Young Persian Artists describes the new generation of Iranian art practitioners in a similar way. In an interview for The Guardian she says: “If you look at Iranian art history, the referencing has been very Persian, reflective and inward-looking. This new generation is almost the opposite: exciting, fresh and very much outward-looking. You will often be hard-pressed to find any Middle Eastern aesthetics in their work at all. They are the Internet generation waiting to break free. Like the YBAs they are leaving all tradition and preconceived expectations behind in a struggle to express what is relevant to them, with the only difference of having to do so within the framework and challenges presented by working in Iran.” In an effort to illustrate this new direction in contemporary Iranian art, Mahsa Mergenthaler-Shamsaei invited four emerging artists from Teheran to create artworks around the universal themes of Hope-Dreams-Desire, which have been featured in the exhibition of the same title she hosted at the OPEN WALLS Gallery in 2015.
Persian Art beyond Middle Eastern Aesthetics
In her introduction to the Hope Dreams Desire exhibition Ms Mergenthaler-Shamsaei stressed that art produced by Iranian Millennials cannot be simply viewed as Iranian or Middle Eastern art and labeled as such. From Adel Younesi’s surreal, colorful visual narratives to Romisa Sakaki’s sharp depiction of social life and customs, Zahra Shafie’s reflections on female roles in contemporary society, and Ali Esmaeillou’s fantasy worlds, the exhibition illustrated the collective generational aim to move beyond the local context and address the themes that can easily be found in the art of their peers in other countries. Although the sociopolitical context stays widely present in the works of many young Iranian artists, as the reality they live and create their works in, the subjects and themes they visualize cannot be subdued under the same old monolithic concept or be examined outside of their relation to global movements and institutions.
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