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Shenzhen Biennale 2015

Tuesday, 15 December, 2015

Nick and I were just in Shenzhen for the Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture. When we were asked to be part of the Maker Maker exhibition we didn’t fully realize how awesome this exhibition is. We had so much fun exploring it for ourselves at the opening ceremony. Curated by Aaron Betsky, the Biennale explores the idea of urbanism in one of the world’s largest and newest metropolises – Shenzhen is only 30 years old! Artists and architects from around the world are exhibiting work that reflects their experiences and involvement with new technologies and ideas about radical urbanism and planning theory. The entire exhibition takes place in an old flour factory which has been re-purposed and re-built using this concept of reliving the city which is the theme of the entire exhibition. The Maker Maker pavilion where Eskayel was invited to show work is focused on artists and designers using various modern and ancient technologies for producing items which shape people’s daily lives in urban environments.

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Our display consisted of three works which illustrate the various production methods of Eskayel, and the process through which their creation combines a mixture of modern and ancient technologies such as hand painting, weaving, dying, and digital printing.  Using these methods and recycled materials connects us and our clients with modern industry in New York as well as cottage industry and ancient arts in places like Sumba and India.

Below on the right is our grasscloth wallcovering. It starts with hand painting then is digitized and digitally printed on hand woven grasscloth, an ancient tradition in China.

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Made in collaboration with Threads of Life Gallery Bali, our heirloom-quality ikat textiles (below left) are hand crafted from beginning to end using natural dyes to an exquisite standard usually seen only in museum quality pieces. Our recycled sari silk rugs (below right) are hand knotted in India with 100% recycled fibers. The recycled saris gathered for the rugs are often vibrant and when redyed some yarns remain so — thus bright moments of color are intrinsic to sari silk rugs and part of what makes them so unique and special.

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The view across the bay from the Biennale – the dust, pollution and fog made for some crazy lighting…(and some pantone colors of 2016!). Shenzhen it was a real pleasure visiting. So interesting and weird and new and enlightening.

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