Museum for Art in Wood featuring international artists in latest project

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — The former Wood Art Center is now the Museum of Wood Art and is hosting a new exhibition in March.

“The overarching mission of the Museum for Art in Wood is to share the amazing creativity that comes from artists and their engagement with the material wood,” said Jennifer-Navva Milliken, Executive Director and Chief Curator of the Museum for Art in Wood.

Be sure to set aside some time for the museum’s mashrabiya project, which includes an exhibition entitled Seeing Through Space.

Six artists contributed to the multidisciplinary exhibition. Milliken says the artists’ work is a response to “the concepts behind the mashrabiya.”

The mashrabiya itself is an architectural element, often made of wood.

“It’s an ancient form of passive cooling,” says Milliken.

She says these structures were “built into windows of stone or adobe houses.”

It provides ventilation and privacy and can be decorative.

“It’s also been used to gender space,” says Milliken.

All artists selected for the project identify as women with roots in Morocco, Tunisia, Gaza, Palestine, Egypt and Pakistan.

Artist Hoda Tawakol says both of her works explore both gaze and control.

“It’s made of trellises, which are used in gardens and also give direction to the plants. And they direct the plants to grow in a certain way,” says Tawakol.

She says she finds mashrabiyas interesting because the female body is at the heart of her work, “and the mashrabiya is a way of concealing the female body.”

The work Charred Gold is by Anila Quayyum Agha, a multidisciplinary artist originally from Pakistan.

She says the play was “very labor intensive” to build, taking around nine to 12 months to complete.

“And that also represents the role of women in housework,” says Agha.

Within the exhibition there is a meeting room called l’iwan. Public events such as discussions and performances will take place there throughout the duration of the exhibition.

You can explore with a smartphone or get hands-on at a mashrabiya wooden shop inside the museum.

Everyone is welcome to go into the museum and spin a piece of wood to be inserted into the community-made mashrabiya.

“We have a lot to do here,” says Milliken.

The Mashrabiya project runs until July 23. Admission to the Museum of Wood Art is free, but donations are always welcome.

Museum of Wood Art | The Mashrabiya Project

141 N. 3rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106 Museum for Art in Wood featuring international artists in latest project

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