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Rabiya Choudhry, Fiona Jardine, Raisa Kabir & Hanneline Visnes

Fri 7 May — Sat 29 May 2021

The title of the exhibition, ambi, is Punjabi for the pattern known in Scotland as Paisley Pattern. ambi also means 'both', allowing for multiple narratives and acknowledging that these works from the archive have diverse origins and appropriations.

This exhibition, a partnership between CCA and GSA, takes works from the textiles, fashion and costume holdings at The Glasgow School of Art Archives & Special Collections as its starting point. The GSA has specially commissioned four UK-based artists and designers Rabiya Choudhry, Fiona Jardine, Raisa Kabir and Hanneline Visnes and to select one piece each and to track its histories in order to present a new story or work from it.

Pursuing a line of research connected with the manufacture of carpets in the late 19th and early 20th century, Fiona Jardine looks at the relationship between space, place and labour. Originally concerned with weaving lace in Darvel, Ayrshire, by 1898 the firm of Alexander Morton & Sons had established an enterprise in Killybegs, Donegal making hand-knotted carpets. Prominent architects and designers such as George Walton and C.F.A. Voysey produced designs for Morton which were worked up by women in Killybegs, and the name ‘Donegal’ became synonymous with carpets of the highest quality.

Rabiya Choudhry is investigating the Paisley Pattern, (which historically has its origins in Ancient Babylon or Iran) with its unique teardrop or ‘boteh’ form. The word ‘boteh’ is Persian for ‘shrub or cluster of leaves’, and the seed like shape of Paisley pattern is purported to represent fertility. Paisley pattern also became a bohemian emblem in the western world’s appropriation of it. Choudhry has collaborated with a textiles specialist to make small textiles from a series of new patterns she has designed.

For her new work, Gather your spools, let your hair down for me. Gently. Here. Undo., Raisa Kabir performs with a woven head of hair, responding to the textile geographies of labour between Kashmiri woven shawls, Paisley, Scotland, Textile Archives, and South Asian diasporic migration and displacement. This work acts as a consequent reminder of the colonial imposed borders and the ongoing conflict between India and Pakistan. It can be also be viewed remotely on CCA Annex.

Hanneline Visnes is researching the work of Dorothy Carleton Smyth [1880-1933]. The GSA Archives & Collections holds several costume designs by Smyth for Shakespeare's Macbeth and Wilde's Salome. In 1914, Smyth became Principal of Commercial Art at Glasgow School of Art, teaching miniature painting and the history of costume and armour. In 1933, she was offered, and accepted, the post of Director of the Glasgow School of Art, but tragically died of a brain haemorrhage, aged 52, before the appointment was made public. Visnes will respond to the costumes and characters created by Smyth in a series of new gouache drawings. Visnes will show her new cast of characters in paintings alongside Smyth's costume studies of theatrical casts.

This exhibition is co-curated by Jenny Brownrigg (GSA) and Sabrina Henry (CCA).

The Glasgow School of Art’s Archives and Collections are an outstanding resource for the study of art, design, architecture and art education. They comprise a wide range of material from GSA’s institutional archive, to artworks and architectural drawings, textile pieces, plaster casts, photographs and furniture. Holdings include a large number of items by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, giving the Archives and Collections one of the largest Mackintosh collections held in public ownership. They also hold a number of deposited collections from former staff and students which often contain preparatory work such as sketchbooks, drawings and samples as well as finished artworks, notebooks and diaries. Taken together, the collections provide an excellent record of the activities of the Glasgow School of Art since it was established in 1845.

The Archives and Collections are currently located at The Whisky Bond on Dawson Road, a 20-minute walk from GSA’s main campus. The Archives and Collections are currently closed to visitors due to the ongoing Covid-19 situation. However, information about their holdings can be viewed online at www.gsa.ac.uk/archives

Visiting Information

You can visit this exhibition by pre-booking a time slot. Each ticket will permit up a household or social bubbles of up to 3 people, to visit the exhibition for one hour.

Masks should be worn by all visitors to the galleries, including when entering CCA and moving around in any public spaces, including toilets and shared communal areas.

A member of staff will control entrance to the gallery and maintain vigilant hygiene measures in the space, ensuring regular sanitising of door handles, and any surface areas. The gallery will be well ventilated throughout the day. Interpretation materials will be single use only and are to be taken away.

Booking Information

The exhibition is free to visit, by advanced booking. You can book a ticket online, by phoning or by visiting our box office. Please note:

– Visiting slots are very limited. If you cannot make it, please contact the box office as soon as possible to cancel your booking, so someone else can take up the slot.
– If you are running more than 10 minutes late, your slot may be reallocated to someone else.
– If you want to book a ticket for more than 3 people, or for more than 1 household or social bubble, please book two tickets for the same time slot.