Community tapestry project launched to chronicle isolation stories in Milton Keynes
Tapestry making workshops are teaching the skills
A project called Unspoken Voices; A Chronicle of Isolation is bringing together the community through tapestries and loom weaving.
The community programme involves a series of tapestry making workshops, spread out over six weeks, based on
the stories from women of different communities and their experiences of living through a pandemic.
The participants are learning about Islamic patterns and methods of loom weaving with artist Rezia Wahid and will go on to produce 10 individual tapestries.
These will be exhibited at MK College at the Art in the Park Festival in May 2022.
The project is organised by Milton Keynes Islamic Arts and Culture. Founder-director Anouar Kassim MBE said: "Tapestries commemorate and tell the story of particular historic moment. MKIAC’s tapestry will be no different. Our tapestry represents the experiences of Milton Keynes diverse communities during the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Each person will bring their own artistic and cultural traditions to the work. Although it may be woven by many weavers, when it is brought together, it becomes one. This tapestry is a true representation of the pandemic
because it is driven by personal experiences, but it symbolises that we are stronger together and it is a chronicle of the isolation that we have all felt during this time.
The beauty of this artwork is that it is stitched by individuals from many communities, when we bring together individual submissions, it becomes a whole. And for this reason, the medium is very well suited to this project because it allows for new skill development, it’s a narrative form to tell a story and it will have a serious visual impact when we have them stitched together."
Milton Keynes Islamic Arts and Culture enables diverse communities to engage in creative activities, working alongside people of all faiths to promote integration. They work closely with MK College and schools offer young people an opportunity to share inclusive experiences through arts, which are often inspired by traditional Islamic themes and cultural practices.
"Our activities are always shaped by the participants and beneficiaries develop skills through creative processes, enabled through working closely with artists. We want to promote integration and cross-cultural
understanding through the arts," said Mr Kassim.
In 2019, MKIAC was awarded the Queen's Jubilee Award for voluntary service. Recently the organisation has been chosen as a charities of the year by MK's new mayor Cllr Mohammad Khan.