Sebastian Smee, a Pulitzer Prize-winning art critic for The Washington Post, recently reviewed two exhibits in Washington, D.C. Both exhibitions feature ikats, brightly colored and patterned silk cloths traditionally made in Uzbekistan, from the collection of Guido Goldman, a German entrepreneur and collector.
Smee himself is a strong advocate for ikat. “If I could see only one kind of art for the rest of my life, it’s easy. Textiles. Uzbekistani textiles. No question about it,” he writes. Smee goes on to describe how ikats are made, from the intricate dying process to the significance and use of ikats in fashion today. For those wanting to see for themselves how ikat fabrics are made, year-round tours to the Fergana Valley make stops at the workshops of master craftsmen who specialize in dying and weaving ikats.
One exhibit, “To Dye For: Ikats From Central Asia”, is on display at the Smithsonian’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery until July 29, and the other, “Binding the Clouds: The Art of Central Asian Ikat”, is at the Textile Museum at George Washington University until July 9.