Prophet Motif 1994 
 weaver Iraz Akdeniz, wool kilim, 210 X 150 cm, Konya, Turkey

After 1979 the Afghan tourist invasion had given  way to an even more destructive military one: undeterred,  the rug-makers accommodated their new market, the Soviet troops and  produced designs incorporating  tanks,  Kalashnikovs, Mig  27s  and hand grenades, in place of  traditional  abstractions of camels, trees,  birds and clouds.


If  modern  kilims have a flaw it is  a  tiredness  of design,  most  being reproductions  of  antique  examples, lacking  the  spark  that comes from  taking  risks  which distinguishes  art from craft. The Afghani kilims  overcame this:  the paradoxical clash of the old, manual,  creative traditions  and materials, with the subject of high  technology  aimed at destruction, was intriguing.  A  profound humanism  operated: the pattern of terror and  devastation was reduced to a warm soft pattern in wool. This taming of violence  (the  rugs were woven by  women  and  children!) betrayed an optimism at the possibility of survival which, for  a  country living in  Apocalypse Now,  has  universal significance and makes the rugs important as works of art.

A Shadow of A Doubt 1989 
weaver Fatma Goban, wool kilim, 210 X 150 cm, Nuzumla, Turkey

Reversal of Fortune 1996 
weaver Fatma Basoluk, wool kilim, 210 X 150 cm, Konya, Turkey

Rish felt own work has always  dealt with destructive  technology – cars, televisions, toasters, the media – if on  a more  suburban level. The tank kilims  suggested  infinite possibilities and so he commenced designing. With  Afghanistan  out  of the question he opted for Konya,  Turkey  the centre  of  Seljuk architecture, Whirling  Dervishes,  and kilim making. The kilims are made of  handspun,  natural dyed wool  with  up to five pieces being  made  from  one design. They are mainly made in the village of Nuzumlar by Fatma Goban and Hataçe Çavusoglu,  however,  many people are involved in dye collecting, dye  making, wool spinning etc.


Stylistically the kilims have developed as a hybrid of West  Coast Funk and Neo-expressionism, deploying  a  penchant  for  visual puns and literary subject  matter.  The kilims, like King Of The Road, 1988, are populated  with  the  manifestations  of  power  (kings,  crowns, swords).  The co-ordinates of geographic space, the  road and  river,  themselves awaken and wander in  the  nomadic tradition beneath an infinite, indigo sky.


In Prophet Motif  (a play  on  resurgent, Islamic, political ‘motives’) a field of dollar signs,  an adaption  of a traditional, Armenian hook motif used  to ward off the evil eye, is surrounded by a  border of  grasping, envious, green hands. The space between the motifs is occupied by eyes and a Latin inscription “Cadit Quaestio”  (the question falls) questions the above-mentioned political  relations  and the equivalence of art and  money  in consumer society.

Carpet Diem 1992 
weaver Hataçe Cavasoglu, wool kilim, 210 X 150 cm, Nuzumla, Turkey

King of the Road 1988 
weaver Fatma Goban, wool kilim, 210 X 150 cm, Nuzumla, Turkey

Half Life 2001 
weaver Serife Akdenýz, wool kilim, 210 X 150 cm, Konya, Turkey