LONDON: The heir to the British throne Prince Charles will attend the opening of a unique exhibition of contemporary textile works using traditional Pakistani craft skills here next week.
'Threads of Change' will showcase the result of a unique collaboration between skilled rural women artisans in Pakistan and international designers, it was announced on Thursday.
The exhibition is part of a long-term social development project designed to improve the income of skilled women artisans from Pakistan.
It is the first time their work will be shown to international buyers and retailers. The aim of the exhibition is to provide the women with direct access to European markets for high quality textile products, soft furnishings and couture.
Organised by the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Rural Support Programmes Network (RSPN) in Pakistan , the exhibition is the result of a three-year pilot project led by the Gender Section of the Secretariat and RSPN. It represents their ongoing commitment to gender issues, poverty reduction and economic empowerment.
The partnership between international designers and the rural women began with a series of master class design workshops held in Karachi and in the Northern Areas of Pakistan in September 2007.
Since then, 40 women artisans have been involved in producing the textile crafts on display which will be marketed directly by the designers.
Up to 30 samples will be on show, ranging from cushion covers, dresses, bedding, shawls and wall hangings.
“It is inspiring to see the amazing products that have come out of the partnership between contemporary European design skills and the incredibly fine detailed stitching and beadwork of the women.
“The products on show illustrate real potential for these traditional skills in western markets – this is the beginning of something really special,” said Mo Tomaney, designer and consultant on the project.
At the exhibition, a documentary film and photographic display will tell the story of the project, while tribal craft pieces will show the skills in their traditional context.
Two of the artisans will travel from Pakistan to represent the voices of the women who made the exhibition possible.
Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma, will officially open the event.