BROOKINGS – An international exhibition of contemporary Afghan war rugs opened Friday at South Dakota Art Museum. “Afghan War Rugs: The Modern Art of Central Asia” will be on view through Nov. 24.

“Afghan War Rugs: The Modern Art of Central Asia” brings one of the most distinct collections of Afghan war rugs in the world to the United States for the first time.

 The artists, who were traditionally women, produced rich pictorial images that recount a broader and more contemporary story of their land. The weavers and their designers revolutionized an ancient craft and created a new artistic genre, knotted rugs with maps, portraits of kings, khans and military leaders and in rugs with weapons.

Jodi Lundgren, South Dakota Art Museum curator of exhibitions, sees this exhibition as an opportunity to display an art form that is fascinating on many levels. “Although not much is known about their origins, circumstances of their production, or even the identity of the artists,” Lundgren noted. “These war rugs offer an opportunity to learn about a largely unfamiliar world.

“Even as we have been installing this exhibit, we have had stimulating conversations with visitors as they encounter the rich imagery in these rugs,” Lundgren said, recalling a conversation with a U.S. veteran who served in Afghanistan. 

COURTESY OF: The Brookings Register

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