Cultural exchange with weavers from the Middle East.
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Project Dewaniya is an ongoing multi-year endeavour launched in 2018. Developed to bring together various weaving cultures of the Middle East with the Swiss saddler’s tradition of working with horsehair – trades that are rarely practised or taught anymore – Project Dewaniya fosters mutual discovery and cultural exchange. The overarching objective is to support and stimulate contemporary applications of craftsmanship.

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The first cooperation was realised in 2018 and 2019 with Bedouin weavers from the Al Sadu Weaving Cooperative Society in Kuwait City (A). The next stops are the border areas of the Autonomous Region of Kurdistan (B), where we will cooperate with the Kurdish Textile Museum in Erbil. Following this, the Dewaniya Project will travel on to Armenia (C) and cooperate with the Goris Women's Development Resource Centre Foundation.

The title of the project refers to the classic definition of “dewaniya”, the meeting or social space in homes in the Arab world, where guests are received, everyday matters are discussed and business is negotiated. Daniel Heer translates this space and concept of hospitality into a seating arrangement consisting of eight cushion modules. The basic shape of the octagon is directly linked to Middle Eastern traditions of ornamentation. Each cushion symbolises a – smaller or larger – community, both on its own and when brought together to form a larger piece. In their changing composition, the cushions thus connect the various weaving traditions and countries in the Middle East.

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Project Dewaniya is supported by the Swiss Embassy in Kuwait, the Al Kuwayt National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters, the Kurdish Textile Museum in Iraqi Kurdistan and the Goris Women's Development Resource Centre Foundation. The project is implemented in collaboration with textile artist Afsaneh Modiramani, curator Asya Yaghmurian and photographer Kristin Loschert.

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