Archive for the ‘Exhibitions’ Category

Secret stitch of Armenian embroidery revealed

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

Anahid Kazazian holding a piece of Marash embroidery. Photo by Maggie Holtzberg.

Many of us have family heirlooms — but how many have ones that were made in a far away country and date back to the mid-1800s? When Anahid Kazazian’s family fled their home during the Armenian massacre, and eventually made it to the United States, they brought with them treasured pieces of needlework with them. Including, this piece, which was made nearly 150 years ago by Anahid’s paternal grandmother, Lucia Dakessian, for her daughter’s trousseau. Anahid says, “We refer to it as gaghtnaker or “secret needlework,” because you can’t tell how the pattern is made by looking at it — you have to be taught.”

Anahid Kazazian will share her knowledge of Marash with visitors at the National Heritage Museum on Saturday October 11th from 1-3 p.m. She is a natural storyteller as well. Come learn about this sturdy and colorful needlework used to adorn textiles in the home for generations.

Listen to Kazazian’s audio stop from the Keepers of Tradition exhibition.

Visitors to “Keepers” weigh in

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

Vistors viewing santos. Photo by Maggie Holtzberg

Visitors to the exhibition Keepers of Tradition: Art and Folk Heritage in Massachusetts at the National Heritage Museum in Lexington have been sharing their responses to the show by filling out printed comment cards. Here are a few of their thoughts:

Card: Has this exhibition changed your idea of what folk art is? If so, How?

Response: “This exhibit made it so worth the trip to the museum on a rainy day. We come here often. Today, I was again uplifted spiritually and artistically. Thanks to all contributors for sharing – this is the way life should be – appreciating our differences and similarities.” (Age 47)

Response: “Yes, I didn’t know folk art could be expressed in so many ways and the way these people do it is so amazing. (Age 11)

Response: “It encourages me to think carefully about what I have learned from my own families and how have I, or can I, pass that along to my own 11-year old son. Wow. Fabulous! Thank you.” (Age 50)

Response: “I found “Useful Things Made Beautiful” especially intriguing. Many of the items in this portion of the exhibit are very familiar to me – I know the background/origins of this “art” and the time, talent, and passion behind creating. It is wonderful that these “crafts” are displayed and very appreciated by others.” (Age 51)

Card: Tell us about a tradition that is part of your family or community.
Response: “I am a former dean at MassArt and have probably been to 300 + exhibitions. I have never seen, heard and been wonderfully uplifted so much as by my visit here today.
P.S. Spectacular. Makes the MFA pale by comparison.” (Age 79)

Card: Tell us more about folk arts in Massachusetts
Response: “I would like you to investigate traditional Greek dance at the Greek Church in Watertown, MA.” (Age 12)

Card: Please tell us about yourself
Response: “My union made the three tin men. They did a wonderful job putting them together. I am very pleased that they are in your museum.” (Age 80)

Response: Walking into “Sacred Expressions” it brought tears to my eyes to see all those religions brought together in one space through the arts. (Age 60)

Card: Draw or describe your favorite object in the exhibition
Response: My favorite object was the fruit cocktail costume. It is very colorful and shiny. I never knew that anyone had costumes like that. (Age 13)

Have a comment? Send me an email: maggie.holtzberg@state.ma.us

Keepers of Tradition garners press

Friday, August 29th, 2008

Deborah Joseph, Trinidad & Tobago Social Club, Boston Caribbean Carnival 2003Detail of Hardanger cutwork table runnerAfter almost four years of work, Keepers of Tradition: Art and Folk Heritage has opened at the National Heritage Museum in Lexington. The response has been heartening – especially from artists, who feel honored, as they should. Their work is often seen only by family members — like the cutwork embroidery of Aline Drivdahl or by the specific community in which it is displayed — like the costumes of local mas bands at Boston’s Caribbean Carnival.

The media coverage and reviews are starting to come in. WBUR’s Here and Now host Robin Young spoke with me recently about some of the artists featured in the exhibition. WGBH’s Greater Boston producer Jared Bowen paid a visit to the show.

Below are links to a sampling of reviews:

“. . . this exhibition is more than just an exhibition. It’s one part of a much bigger project, which includes Holtzberg’s excellent catalog essay (it explains the stories behind the various objects in some depth) and, beyond both the show an dthe catalog, a great deal of valuable documnetation which can only help in the attempt to keep these traditions alive . . .” Sebastian Smee, Boston Globe

Keepers of Tradition reflects the diversity of the state better than any art show you’re likely to see for a long time.” -Greg Cook, The Boston Phoenix

“An engaging, informative exhibit . . .Think of this fascinating show as a tour through the markets and bazaars of the world with no haggling.” –Chris Bergeron, Metrowest Daily News

“. . . head to the National Heritage Museum in Lexington for the enthralling exhibit “Keepers of Tradition: Art and Folk Heritage in Massachusetts.” This is not your mom’s folk art show: check out the stone fence, the sheet-metal “tin men,” and the boat making, as well as the scrimshaw, quilts, and redware pottery. – Stephanie Schorow, Sidekick, Boston Globe

Visit www.massfolkarts.org for more on the exhibition.

Keepers of Tradition up and running . . .

Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

Deborah Joseph, Trinidad & Tobago Social Club, Boston Caribbean Carnival 2003Detail of Hardanger cutwork table runnerAfter almost four years of work, Keepers of Tradition: Art and Folk Heritage has opened at the National Heritage Museumin Lexington. The response has been heartening – especially from artists, who feel honored, as they should. Their work is often seen only by family members — like the cutwork embroidery of Aline Drivdahl or by the specific community in which it is displayed — like the costumes of local mas bands at Boston’s Caribbean Carnival.

The media coverage and reviews are starting to come in. WBUR’s Here and Now host Robin Young spoke with me recently about some of the artists featured in the exhibition. WGBH’s Greater Boston producer Jared Bowen paid a visit to the show.

Below are links to a sampling of reviews:

“. . . this exhibition is more than just an exhibition. It’s one part of a much bigger project, which includes Holtzberg’s excellent catalog essay (it explains the stories behind the various objects in some depth) and, beyond both the show an dthe catalog, a great deal of valuable documnetation which can only help in the attempt to keep these traditions alive . . .” Sebastian Smee, Boston Globe

Keepers of Tradition reflects the diversity of the state better than any art show you’re likely to see for a long time.” -Greg Cook, The Boston Phoenix

“An engaging, informative exhibit . . .Think of this fascinating show as a tour through the markets and bazaars of the world with no haggling.” –Chris Bergeron, Metrowest Daily News

“. . . head to the National Heritage Museum in Lexington for the enthralling exhibit “Keepers of Tradition: Art and Folk Heritage in Massachusetts.” This is not your mom’s folk art show: check out the stone fence, the sheet-metal “tin men,” and the boat making, as well as the scrimshaw, quilts, and redware pottery. – Stephanie Schorow, Sidekick, Boston Globe

Visit www.massfolkarts.org for more on the exhibition.


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