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This exhibition organised by the Museum’s Education and Community Department, comprises some 20 textile panels inspired largely by the magnificent collection of Mughal paintings held by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The panels were created by groups of predominently Asian women and children, primarily in the UK but also in a number of other countries, as part of an arts educational project developed by the V&A Museum in 1997. One panel, ‘The Dance of Life’, 1993, is the work of Irish and Asian women who worked with the artist Wendy Cowan in the West Tallaght Women’s Group. Drawing on the Mughal miniatures in the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, the women explored the social restructuring of their lives in contemporary Ireland.
The Shamiana panels, exhibited in the V&A in a Mughal ceremonial tent (or shamiana), depict narrative scenes relating to home, refuge and dispossession. The Shamiana project is part of a long tradition of innovative education work at the V&A, who are currently partners with IMMA in a Socrates-funded European transnational project exploring museum’s educational practice. During the exhibition, IMMA will develop an intensive education and community programme, in association with the Chester Beatty Library, focusing on developing social diversity in Ireland.