On the Line: New Perspectives on Craft in Southeast Asia

4 May 2017 to 17 June 2017 | Mon–Sat 10am–6pm, Thurs 10am–7pm, Sun closed.

The Aram Gallery | Aram Store, 110 Drury Lane, Covent Garden, London WC2B 5SG

The British Council presents On the Line, an exhibition exploring craft through the practices of women in Southeast Asia. It will open to coincide with London Craft Week at The Aram Gallery.

On the Line seeks to question the sustainability of craft in Southeast Asia in the context of increasing globalisation, and offers a range of insights into the lives and cultures of women working in this sector today. Curated by Martina Margetts, Senior Tutor in Critical & Historical Studies at the Royal College of Art, and designed by the London-based practice Mentsen, the exhibition features impressions and unique materials collected by Royal College of Art students and local researchers during recent residencies in Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam. Structured around three themes – craftsmanship, community and commerce – the exhibition highlights the current state of craft practice in these three countries through the eyes of the researchers.

The research residencies took place in December 2016, when a total of twelve participants - six students from the Royal College of Art, who were paired with six local researchers and practitioners - explored the artistic practices and social conditions of craftswomen in Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam, over the course of two weeks. Throughout the residencies, the participants collected textiles, everyday objects, raw materials and samples. They also documented their encounters and reflections through journals, photography, film, interviews and sketches.

The exhibition presents the perspectives of the twelve researchers through these collected materials, exploring the current challenges and opportunities for craftswomen in Southeast Asia, highlighting the potential of craft development in the region with the ambition to grow a stronger appreciation for endangered local cultures and support local communities.

As part of London Craft Week 2017, the exhibition will also be accompanied by Material World, a panel discussion in partnership with the Crafts Council on 5 May, exploring materiality in contemporary craft. Chaired by Martina Margetts, the panel will include two of the researchers featured in On the Line and makers showcased at the Crafts Council’s Collect exhibition this year. To book a place click here.