Ani Afshar Showcases Work in Chicago’s Hyde Park Art Center
by Daniel Haim
The works of international artist, Ani Afshar, has been chosen by the Hyde Park Art Center to be showcased in 2012 through a show entitled, Woven Gardens and Shredded Shadows. The show, to be presented from May 20 until September 2, 2012, will feature Afshar’s striking hand-woven tapestries and tulle veil designs as the primary focus of her exhibition at the Art Center, located at 5020 S. Cornell Avenue in Chicago’s historic Hyde Park neighborhood. The solo show will debut the never before seen artworks and installations created by Afshar since her return to weaving in 2007, presented alongside a small selection of the acclaimed tapestries she was known for producing in the 1990s.
Afshar’s history with the Hyde Park Art Center spans beyond 25 years, when she first taught at the renowned exhibition space. The Art Center presented her work in 1987 as part of a three-person exhibition organized by Richard Born, now Senior Curator of the Smart Museum, who then described her tapestries as “simultaneously utilitarian objects and works of independent beauty intended both for use and appreciation at the same time.” This rich foundation ignited interest by the Art Center to create this upcoming show now 25 years later. According to Allison Peters Quinn, Director of Exhibitions for the Art Center, “It’s always a proud moment when we get to feature faculty in an exhibition. Ani now teaches jewelry-making classes here at the Center and I’m sure many of these students from over the years will be surprised to learn of her depth of artistic talent.” She continues, “The monographic show is sure to illustrate the stylistic consistencies and remarkable bead work in her textile compositions from the 1990s to now. Ani has such a long history with the Art Center, it’s amazing to see how her passion for weaving has persisted throughout all these years of a successful career in jewelry design.”
Afshar’s multicultural upbringing inspires her beaded and woven masterpieces. Born in Istanbul, educated in Switzerland, and based in Chicago since 1975, Afshar draws on Eastern and Western traditions to craft her one-of-a-kind pieces. “When I was in kindergarten in Switzerland, I would create colorful, delicate flowers from the foils that covered the chocolate,” said Afshar. “From my earliest memories, I was always making something.”
Afshar uses a range of color and diverse materials to create her artwork, which ranges from jewelry design to tapestries and accessories. “I’ve become known for making one-of-a-kind wire jewelry, but my real passion in art has always been in weaving.”
For information on this and other exhibitions at the Hyde Park Art Center, please visit www.hydeparkart.org