Opening Speech from HR Gallop Gallery

Agzarian Photo 1 from Wagga Khayamiya Exhibition

Opening Speech at Khedival to Contemporary in Wagga Wagga 2013 (Powerpoint with Audio)

This powerpoint file contains a 10-minute recording of Jenny Bowker’s speech at the Opening to “Khayamiya: Khedival to Contemporary” in Wagga Wagga, as well as a few of my own acknowledgements to the talented  individuals who have generously supported the exhibition and my research.  Jenny speaks about how she became involved with the Tentmakers of Cairo, the way she brought their contemporary work to international attention, and what the unveiling of historic Khayamiya means for her.

“It needs to be seen by an audience who understands the work, who knows what it means, and knows what it implies.”


Many thanks to Michael Agzarian for your photograph of the Opening, which captures the spirit of the evening.

Treasures of the Tentmakers: Discovering Egyptian Khayamiya

Hi folks,

I will give a free public lecture for the Centre of Arab and Islamic Studies in the Australian National University on Friday 18 October at 2pm.  This will review highlights of my research so far, focusing on major developments in the history of Khayamiya. You are most welcome to attend, and please share this PDF flyer far and wide.

ANU CAIS Treasures of the Tentmakers Bowker 18 Oct 2013

On other news, the research and lecturing tour of the UK and Ireland was a great success. Plenty of new material was gathered for upcoming articles, and plans are in progress for the extended international tour of the exhibition “Khayamiya: Khedival to Contemporary”. Thank you very much to James and Claire Birch and Amy Claridge of Doddington Hall, Venetia Porter, Helen Wolfe and Cynthia McGowan of the British Museum, Catherine Wynne of the University of Hull, Ann Murray and Alan Drumm of the University of Cork, Jim Piscatori of the University of Durham, and Craig Barclay of the Oriental Museum in Durham, and Joan and John Fisher, for all your generous help.

Studying Khedival Khayamiya from the British Museum's collection in Blythe House, London. Cynthia McGowan, Joan Fisher and Helen Wolfe pictured, photograph by Sam Bowker on Tuesday 10 September 2013.
Studying Khedival Khayamiya from the British Museum’s collection in Blythe House, London. Cynthia McGowan, Joan Fisher and Helen Wolfe pictured, photograph by Sam Bowker on Tuesday 10 September 2013.

Finally, if you would like to see new images of the first installation of this exhibition in Wagga Wagga, including intimate close-up photographs of these spectacular hand-made textiles, Aaron James Neal has generously uploaded a portfolio of his superb photographs to this link:

“Khayamiya: Khedival to Contemporary” to open in Wagga Wagga

Khedival Khayamiya, circa 1890-1910. (Bowker Collection)
Khedival Khayamiya, circa 1890-1910. (Bowker Collection)

Khayamiya: Khedival to Contemporary is the world’s first exhibition  to reveal the story of the Egyptian Tentmakers from the Late Ottoman Empire to present-day Cairo. I am delighted to announce that this free exhibition will be shown in Wagga Wagga from Monday August 26 to Thursday September 12, 2013, in the HR Gallop Gallery (in Building 21 off Carpark 2), on the Charles Sturt University Campus, Wagga Wagga, New South Wales (Australia).

It will be open from Monday to Friday during office hours – my apologies that it is not possible to open this exhibition during weekends as well.

This exhibition has several purposes. It is the first physical manifestation of my research into the art history of the Egyptian Tentmakers, and kicks off an ‘in-tents’ month of public lectures in the UK and Australia. It is also an experiment to test the feasibility of touring these textiles around Australia and internationally in 2014, as well as a great opportunity to document and study this world-class collection of very large antique Khayamiya.

I curated this exhibition to cast Khayamiya within the rich historic context that this Egyptian art form deserves. By doing this, I hope to raise awareness of the Tentmakers of Cairo by embracing the unique visual and cultural heritage that has resulted in contemporary Egyptian Appliqué.

Previous Tentmaker exhibitions have only featured their recent work, partly because until now, that was all that could be accessed for display. After extensive primary research, this situation has changed.

This exhibition will prove that further research into the history of Khayamiya is justified, valuable, and fascinating. For every question it answers, new questions are raised.

If you would like to know more, you are most welcome to join in a public conversation to be held inside the exhibition from 1pm on Tuesday August 27, 2013.

Media Release – Egyptian Appliqué in Wagga Wagga – 15 August 2013

Exhibition Flyer – Khedival to Contemporary, Wagga Wagga