Egyptian Tentmaker Appliqué in American Collections
The Tentmakers of Cairo create spectacular cotton-on-canvas appliqués known as khayamiya. Their breathtaking urban pavilions connect the splendor of the Fatimids and Mamluks, the cut-outs of Henri Matisse, and the souvenirs of world wars. Though some know the Tentmakers as the 'rock stars of the quilt world', their history survives through the legacies of American tourists and art collectors. Blending illustrations and real examples, this presentation surveys historic and contemporary khayamiya so that new examples may be discovered.
Dr. Sam Bowker is the Senior Lecturer in Art History & Visual Culture for Charles Sturt University in Australia. In 2018, he and Seif El Rashidi published 'The Tentmakers of Cairo: Egypt's Medieval and Modern Appliqué Craft' through the American University in Cairo Press. He curated "Khayamiya: Khedival to Contemporary" for the Islamic Art Museum Malaysia (2015-2016) and he teaches an award-winning Islamic Art and Design subject. He served as scholar in residence for the Doris Duke Foundation (Honolulu, 2015), a travelling fellow for the Hamid Bin Khalifa symposium (Richmond, 2017), and a visiting scholar for the Victoria and Albert Museum (London, 2018).