Event Type:



Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA)


15 Jan 2021 - 28 Feb 2021

Mon 10:00 - 16:30
Tue 10:00 - 16:30
Wed 10:00 - 16:30
Thu 10:00 - 16:30
Fri 10:00 - 16:30
Sat 10:00 - 16:30
Sun 10:00 - 16:30



Untitled (Paisley Shawl Design)
c. 1840s - 1850s, courtesy of GSA Archives & Collections


Event info


Rabiya Choudhry  |  Fiona Jardine  |  Hanneline Visnes 

This exhibition takes works from the Textiles and Fashion holdings at the Glasgow School of Art Archives & Collections as its starting point. A series of new commissions by Choudhry, Jardine and Visnes tracks the diverse histories of the pieces they have chosen in order to present new stories and artwork from it. The title of the exhibition, ambi, is Punjabi for the pattern known in Scotland as Paisley Pattern. ambi also means 'both', allowing for multiple narratives and acknowledging that these works from the archive have diverse origins and appropriations.

Fiona Jardine looks at histories connected with the manufacture of Donegal Carpets in the late 19th and early 20th century. The firm was established in Killybegs in 1898 under the auspices of Alexander Morton & Son, a textile manufacturer of international significance originally concerned with making lace in Darvel, Aryshire. George Walton and C.F.A. Voysey, amongst others, designed carpets for Morton to produce in Donegal. Carpets dating from this time have been known as ‘Irish Squares’ in Singapore, where they are associated with the celebration of Peranakan Chinese weddings, and Jardine’s research describes a complex, interlinked pattern of trade, exchange and value. Jardine became aware of the role of the ‘Irish Square’ in this context whilst teaching students at GSA Singapore during 2017, and has conducted supplementary studies using archives held at the V&A, London and Heriot-Watt University.

Rabiya Choudhry investigates Paisley Pattern, which historically is considered to have its origins in either Ancient Babylon or Iran, with its unique teardrop, or boteh form (the word boteh is Persian for 'shrub', or 'cluster of leaves'). The seed-like shape of Paisley Pattern is purported to represent fertility. Paisley Pattern also became a bohemian emblem in the western world's appropriation of it. Choudhry will exhibit a new series of paintings alongside small textiles made from new pattern that we will design.

Hanneline Visnes is researching the work of Dorothy Carleton Smyth [1880-1933]. The GSA Archives & Collections holds several costume designs by Smyth for Shakespeare's Macbeth and Wilde's Salome. In 1914, Smyth became Principal of Commercial Art at Glasgow School of Art, teaching miniature painting and the history of costume and armour. In 1933, she was offered, and accepted, the post of Director of the Glasgow School of Art, but tragically died of a brain haemorrhage, aged 52, before the appointment was made public. Visnes will respond to the costumes and characters created by Smyth in a series of new gouache drawings. Visnes will show her new cast of characters in paintings alongside Smyth's costume studies of theatrical casts. 

The exhibition is curated by GSA Exhibition Director Jenny Brownrigg.

Supported by Glasgow School of Art

The Glasgow School of Art’s Archives and Collections are an outstanding resource for the study of art, design, architecture and art education. They comprise a wide range of material from GSA’s institutional archive, to artworks and architectural drawings, textile pieces, plaster casts, photographs and furniture. Holdings include a large number of items by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, giving the Archives and Collections one of the largest Mackintosh collections held in public ownership. They also hold a number of deposited collections from former staff and students which often contain preparatory work such as sketchbooks, drawings and samples as well as finished artworks, notebooks and diaries. Taken together, the collections provide an excellent record of the activities of the Glasgow School of Art since it was established in 1845.