Manijeh Yadegar, Untitled, acrylic on paper, 2006. Funded by CaMMEA.
‘Marks and washes echo the physical rhythms of the body. Areas of dark and light take turns in the dominant role… observations of the natural world [turn] into completely abstract images; memories of places, moments in time, the transition between night and day, dawn to dusk.’ With these words Manijeh Yadegar (1951–2016) describes her meditative works, eight of which are now in the British Museum collection. Her small layered drawings are textured, brilliant colour emerging from under a creamy striated ground. Born in Isfahan in Iran, Yadegar moved to
London in 1964, where she studied at Chelsea and Camberwell schools of art. For over 40 years she collaborated with her husband, the sculptor and draughtsman Nigel Hall, whose drawings are also in the collection. Both their practices focused on minimalism and abstraction; they inspired each other and exhibited together.
The drawings are on display in the Albukhary gallery of the Islamic world between November 2021 and April 2022.
Venetia Porter Curator: Middle East women trong
This contemporary Māori cloak was made in London in 2019 by weaver Te Ataraiti Waretini. She named it Pāuaua, which references fierce women. Te Ataraiti says: ‘When a mana wahine (powerful woman) strives for greatness, it’s not only for herself but mainly for others. This cloak reflects the nurturing mother and her descendants who carry on her strong Māori values’. Made from silk and cotton threads, Te Ataraiti has used traditional Māori weaving methods in its construction. The section at the top of the cloak is made using a technique known as tāniko and includes patterns that represent an abundance of care for others. Ataraiti lived in London for several years and was an active member of Ngāti Rānana, the London Māori Club. While in London, she began weaving and was initially taught by her mother via Facebook. This acquisition was supported by the Benioff Oceania Programme.
Julie Adams Curator: Oceania
Te Ataraiti Waretini, Pāuaua, 2019.
Elisa Jane ‘Leecee’ Carmichael, Gulayi for our Jundal, 2020. (Photo: Louis Lim).
12 British Museum Magazine Winter 2021
Honouring female ancestors
This new work, Gulayi for our Jundal (Women’s bags for our women) is made by multidisciplinary artist Elisa Jane (‘Leecee’) Carmichael, from Stradbroke Island, near Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. She is a member of the Ngugi people. It comprises a series of six women’s bags made of antique wire rolled in silk. Using a loop and twist technique, the wire has been woven into bags similar to those made from freshwater reeds known as ungaire from that region. The artist has said: ‘The six dilly bags (gulayi) represent our family, a strong line of matriarchs and me as the sixth generation. They are delicate but strong, woven from a harsh material into a fragile form. You can see through the bags, what’s inside, what’s outside, and what’s around. It has been guided by the hands of our ancestors’. These bags complement older works in the Museum’s collection compiled in the 19th century. Leecee, together with her mother, Sonja, has been instrumental in reviving traditional weaving techniques from this region.
Gaye Sculthorpe Curator: Head of Oceania
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