In recent years, a series of global Internet trade portals have started including a new category “Afghan War Rugs” in their product menus. I set out investigating these wool rugs hand-knotted by people residing in the western shores of the Caspian Sea in order to understand and interpret them from a visual culture perspective. Why were there guns, “AK-47” scripts, hand grenades and drones inside their classical borders adorned by dark blue, yellow, and beige octagonal flowers? What are these rugs? How can one understand, interpret and read them? Are they tools for existence of the Afghan peasants scattered around by the centralized histories of war; cartographic signs of the concept of independence in a place that has almost always been under threat; an appropriation, a kind of modernization of tradition of knots and wool into popular images of violence; a new arena of exploiting female peasant labor; some kind of pleasure obtained from keeping violence far away for the western consumers; items that are proudly exhibited in militarist collections of weapons; or some kind of souvenir brought to home from exotic far away places? The study provides insights for such questions, and poses more questions in order to built relevant ground for newer interpretations for artists and art educators through its interdisciplinary visual culture lenses.
Visual Arts, Art Education, Visual Culture, Afghan War Rugs.
|Author :||İsmail ÖZGÜR SOĞANCI|
|Number of pages:||26-39|