The Afghan Carpet Project at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, on show until 27 September 2015, features five carpets designed by five LA-based contemporary artists and handmade by weavers in Afghanistan. The carpets were conceived in response to a trip to Kabul and Bamiyan in March 2014, when the artists visited the workshops where the weaving would eventually take place.
The project is hosted by Christopher Farr, a company known for its collectible rugs produced in collaboration with acclaimed artists and designers, the Hammer Museum and AfghanMade, an initiative set up by the American Task Force for Business & Stability Operations (TFBSO), a division of the US Department of Defense. With the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, the AfghanMade model has grown into a not-for-profit organisation that continues to produce world-class weaving.
Christopher Farr, the owner of the eponymous brand, travelled to Afghanistan with his colleague Matthew Bourne and artists Lisa Anne Auerbach, Liz Craft, Meg Cranston, Francesca Gabbiani, Toba Khedoori and Jennifer Guidi. The country held a mythical status for the carpet makers, but their first journey featured a few ‘what the hell am I doing here?’ moments. The journey was a paradoxical one for the artists too.
Read about their experiences in COVER magazine issue 40, out soon.