Diverse embroidery collection on display at Wereldmuseum Rotterdam

Diverse embroidery collection on display at Wereldmuseum Rotterdam

ROTTERDAM, 2 May 2023 – The Wereldmuseum Rotterdam presents the captivating “Geen woorden maar draden” exhibition, opening June 8th, exploring the diverse world of embroidery and its numerous meanings across cultures. The exhibition closes on October 22nd, 2023. 

Embroidery as a universal language

“Geen woorden maar draden” (No Words, Just Threads) showcases around 200 embroidered works, 170 of which are part of the museum's extensive collection. The exhibition demonstrates the versatility of embroidery as a form of decoration, cultural expression, storytelling, and identity representation, while highlighting the often-unknown creators behind these intricate works.

The resurgence of handcrafts

The exhibition reflects recent societal developments, as people have rediscovered handcrafts as a meaningful activity and part of slow living, encouraging a more attentive life in the present. The museum's collection serves as a source of inspiration, evoking admiration for the technical ingenuity applied in creating the showcased works.

Stories told through stitches

The displayed works include an embroidered cloth depicting Rotterdam during World War II, and a selection of Chilean arpilleras created during Pinochet's dictatorship (1973-1990) to address social, economic, and political issues. Contemporary artists, such as Dutch Alexandra Drenth and Indian Rucha Kulkarni, also utilise embroidery techniques to convey thought-provoking messages.

Iran, 1850, Wereldmuseum collectionIran, 1850, Wereldmuseum collection

The creators and their environment

Embroidery requires only basic tools: a needle, thread, and a piece of fabric. However, the exhibition demonstrates the endless variations possible, as people utilise available materials like leather, plastic, and tree bark, or porcupine quills and hair for stitching. Motifs often derive from the creator's surroundings, nature, or cultural traditions, and are constantly influenced and revised by various factors.

The people behind the embroidery

The skilled hands that carefully place each stitch often belong to women whose names remain unknown. With incredible skill and creativity, they embroider to beautify the world, express themselves, and share stories that should not be forgotten. “Geen woorden maar draden” highlights the love, patience, and resilience behind these impressive works, proving that this art form remains alive and relevant across time.

Visiting the exhibition

Find your way to the Wereldmuseum Rotterdam at Willemskade 25, 3016 DM Rotterdam. The museum is situated in a lively area near the Erasmus Bridge and offers a unique cultural experience.

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