‘Across Time and Space’ at the Ismaili Centre in South Kensington is an absolute feast for the eyes. The lead exhibition curator Amin Abdullah Pardhan has collaborated with a number of cultural organisations representing colourful living textile traditions from across North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. These traditional garments, full of social and cultural significance, were also juxtaposed with beautiful pieces made by a contemporary fashion designer who draws inspiration from traditional and ancient textile motifs and craftsmanship.
The exhibition is further enriched by the Royal Geographical Society’s collection of rare 19th-century photographic albums, maps and daily life portraits of men and women from the Middle East and Central Asia. To me, the highlights of this exhibition are the exquisitely embroidered and embellished regional dresses and headdresses from Saudi Arabia curated by Mansoojat Foundation; the painstakingly beaded and crafted silk gowns designed by Zaeem Jamal; and the whimsical kaftan produced by the internationally renowned Moroccan artist, Hassan Hajjaj.
Dr Fahmida Suleman, Phyllis Bishop Curator for the Modern Middle East, The British Museum
The exhibition is open from 25 to 29 November, daily 10:00-15:30 – Free