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Tapestries weave a rich art world

The international textile arts exhibit Artapestry3 opened Thursday at the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design in Riga. The show focuses on the historic legacy of Gobelin tapestry art, featuring a rich display of the form’s artistic and artisan cultural traditions, according to the exhibition’s homepage.

It will be open to public view for the month until September 7, with a free admission day on August 16, as Riga celebrates its City Festival.

“The king is not dead. Just like in the 1990’s, when video arts, installation arts came around, there was talk that the art of painting was too traditional. Nowadays the material doesn’t matter, what matters is the idea the artist wants to express. Here in these technically limited frames artists manage to create very interesting works and experiments,” museum director Inese Baranovska told LTV news program Kultūras ziņas Thursday.

Artapestry is run by the European Tapestry Forum, founded by several leading European textile artists in 2001. Its aim is to spread the world about tapestry and spur artists to seek new ways to use this “stitch and weave” technique in their art, and find its place in our contemporary world of varied arts and creative styles. This means it also pays tribute to a time-honoured classical weaving culture and updates it, and, in doing so, positions tapestry as a sustainable and modern form of art.

Each Artapestry exhibition is based on a careful selection of works, carried out by an international committee including experts from various fields: artists, educators and exhibition curators.

The selection committee members for the Artapestry3 exhibition were: the painter and art critic Hannu Castrén (Finland),  Prof. Lesley Millar (Great Britain), the Professor and textile artist Margarethe Persson (Austria), the sculptor Kirsten Ortwed (Germany and Denmark), and the art expert Yves Sabouri (France).

Out of 150 entries submitted by 87 artists, the selection committee chose 51 entries by 38 artists. The vast exhibition organized in Riga represents artists from Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, France, Great Britain, Scotland, Lithuania, Denmark, Norway, Finland, and Sweden.

Iveta Vecenāne, a textile artist from Latvia, is also among the artists who won the tough competition for this international show, and is represented here with her tapestry “Bowl”.

In 2012 Artapestry opened at the Art Centre “Silkeborg Bad” in Silkeborg, Denmark, and in 2013 it was on show at the Museum of Central Finland in Juväskylän, as well as at the Ronneby Cultural Centre in Sweden.

From January till May, 2014 the exhibition was held at the Musée Jean Lurçat in Angers, France.

The exhibition is a splendid chance for participating artists to speak to a vast international audience of textile art enthusiasts all across Europe. This year, as Riga enjoys its role as the Culture Capital of the European Union, the exhibition is on display in Latvia.

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