To start our year-long project myself and Amber Khokhar visited the Asian Women’s Group based at West Hampstead Women’s Centre for four silk painting workshops through November 2011.
During these workshops participants explored treasures from the Wallace Collection’s Oriental Armory to create designs based on intricate patterns and decorations found in many of the Oriental Arms and Armour. This area of the Collection was selected to fit in with the theme of ‘Treasures’ that will inspire artwork made throughout this project;
‘Treasures’ This themes was inspired by all the exotic and beautiful treasures that the Dutch East India Company brought to the Dutch Republic. We hope that project participants will be able to respond to this theme by thinking about their own personal treasures. It is also inspired by Jan Jansz de Heem’s Still life with a Monkey
This ambitious composition is one of the finest works attributed to Jan Jansz. de Heem. T The profusion of fruit, vegetables, crustacea, glass, silver, and porcelain affords the artist the opportunity to display his considerable imitative skill. On a deeper level the subject may be seen as a celebration of the fruits of civilisation, trade, peace and prosperity with the inclusion of imported objects such as the Chinese porcelain bowls. In contrast, the viewer is reminded of the transitory nature of human life and the dangers of over-indulgence in material excess by the inclusion of the broken column and classical frieze.
Participants from West Hampstead Asian Women’s Groups spent four weeks exploring the treasures that we have in the Wallace Collection’s Oriental Armory and creating new treasures in the beautiful silk scarves they created. Here are some photos from these very productive and enjoyable workshops!;