With exhibitions of new work by some of the world’s leading artists alongside watercolours, textiles, wallpapers, photographs and fine art, The Whitworth has become one of the city’s most popular galleries. So our group decided that this must-see cultural destination must be our next visit!
The Whitworth Gallery, situated in central Manchester, was enjoyed by all who attended! We loved this excursion because, as well as the various exhibition spaces inside, there are also outside galleries that are integrated into the adjacent park and art garden. There is a sculpture terrace and orchard garden that run alongside spaces that lead intoi the park.
Our tour allowed time to explore the tapestries from around the world – from Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Yemen. Many of these countries that hold a wealth of heritage are also important to the culture of many of our participants, particularly those having fled the on-going conflict within Syria and Yemen. Exhibitions included drawings, paintings, sculptures, photographs and more from a wide range of local and international artists.
A tour guide from the Whiteworth Gallery accompanied our group on our visit and provided a wealth of information and insight to the works on display.
The section of ‘Kiswa’ cloth, woven in satin silk, dates back to 1924 and really made an impression on many of our group. This important cloth is woven with religious phrases in Arabic and covers the ‘Ka’ba’ in Mecca and sections are destributed accross the world every year.
Our group was fascinated to learn more about the Vistorian tradition of making wall-paper and how British dsigners actually used methods involving dyes, wood-blocks and printing that originated in India, Pakistan and the Middle-East as well as Japan and far-eastern countries. The tour guide explained how methods have evolved over time and how we now use computer-aided design and modern technologies now. However, these technologies are often used to recreate ancient techniques and draw upon other cultures and tradition.
There was also an exhibition called ‘Beyond Faith: Muslim Women Artists Today’ showcasing the work of five Muslim women that really made an impression on many of our participants, many of whom were already familiar with the stories and works of the artists but who had never actually seen their work. The exhibition explored themes of identity, culture, ‘otherness’ and belonging. These imprtant pieces also reflected the diverse personal journeys of the artsists and their artistic journies, challenging the stereo-types of Muslim women.