Colorful Egyptian tents have traveled from the streets of Cairo to the United States, bringing vibrant stories with them. This illustrated (virtual) lecture reveals the history of khayamiya (the intricately appliqued tents of the Egyptian tentmakers) as a story of relationships to other art forms, including architecture, contemporary quilting and the paper cut-outs of Henri Matisse. These stories connect the joyful exuberance of this textile art with deeper histories of Islamic art and Egyptian culture.
Dr Sam Bowker is a Senior Lecturer in Art History & Visual Culture for Charles Sturt University in Australia. He and Seif El Rashidi published the book The Tentmakers of Cairo: Egypt’s Medieval and Modern Applique Craft in 2018, and he is currently researching the presence of Egyptian khayamiya appliques in public and private collections across the United States.