Irthi shines spotlight on region’s handcrafting heritage

November 18, 2021 / 2:02 PM
Sharjah24: Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council, an affiliate of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment, is broadening the global appeal of the cultural heritage, knowledge and skills associated with traditional crafts of the region with the launch of two curated contemporary collections on a leading international platform renowned as a showcase for limited-edition and bespoke design.
The collections that were launched are part of Irthi’s Series and which highlight the sophistication and exquisite detailing of luxury handmade crafts made their debut at Design Miami/ Podium x Shanghai, that concluded in the Chinese city, Shanghai recently. Teaming up with Design Miami, a global authority for collectable design, Irthi is showcasing the timeless elegance of its uniquely designed yet functional objects which weave together the crafts heritage of the region, alongside exceptional historical and contemporary art and design objects from design and art galleries across Asia.

At Design Miami/ Podium x Shanghai, which runs until November 14, Irthi has unveiled the 'Zenobia Collection' drop, which initiates a dialogue between two crafts from different regions - Emirati Talli and Lebanese Marquetry, and the ‘Thaya Collection’ drop, which pushes the boundaries of the Emirati Safafah weaving heritage.

Her Excellency Reem BinKaram, Director, NAMA: Irthi has emerged today as a hub of global crafts collaborations.

Her Excellency Reem BinKaram, Director, NAMA, said: “Irthi has emerged today as a hub of global crafts collaborations under the vision and guidance of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of NAMA. Our presence at the forefront of design-led events on the world stage gives greater momentum to our efforts in revitalising and safeguarding the region’s intangible cultural heritage.”

The NAMA Director added: “Irthi’s mandate to modernise traditional crafts through global collaborations has led to experimentations and innovations focused on a solution-oriented design approach reflective of the culture we live in today. Our new collections merge Emirati and regional craft traditions with artisanal techniques and cutting-edge design to permanently forge a connection with our past, even as it takes the indigenous handmaking heritage of the region into the future.”

Zenobia Collection Drop: Irthi x Nada Debs

A collaboration between Irthi and Levantine designer, Nada Debs, the Zenobia Collection weaves the worlds of Talli and Marquetry together to create an intricately crafted interpretation of the vessels traditionally carried by Bedouin tribes. 

Featuring a contemporary collection of three multifunctional bowls of varying sizes, the Zenobia Collection amalgamates the intricate, handwoven Talli of Emirati women with the wood-working heritage practiced predominately by men in the Levant. The multifunctional bowls feature a solid French oak natural finish and incorporate woven Talli and Marquetry strips that lend itself to a new identity by bringing together the expertise of craftsmen and craftswomen from different parts of the region.

Thaya Collection Drop

Using palm fronds (khose), camel leather, and recycled felt, Irthi’s Thaya Collection represents a contemporary interpretation of Safeefah (palm frond weaving) homeware items traditionally found in Emirati homes. Design, colour, material, and pattern come together to create modern lifestyle narratives where traditional homeware pieces and accessories are transformed into sculptural pieces. 

For its Thaya Collection, Irthi has collaborated with Hala Kaiksow to create a woven Safeefah tapestry featuring a Bahraini hand dyeing technique. Irthi has merged Emirati Safeefah with camel leather to create functional products featuring a feather effect in collaboration with the designer Ghaya Bin Mesmar. Products that are part of this collection include Safeefah basket with leather base, a Safeefah picnic basket with leather handle and Safeefah baskets in natural red and orange dyed weaved Khose.

The Collection also features an Irthi-Studio Lel collaboration to create a stacked stone and Safeefah vase. The white and pink stone from Pakistan, paired with natural red and pink dyed weaved Safeefah with feather effect, beautifully showcases Irthi’s cross-cultural approach in renewing and strengthening heritage crafts of the region.
November 18, 2021 / 2:02 PM

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