The Majlis Exhibition: Virtual Tour


The Royal Majlis. Courtesy of the Dutch National Museum of World Cultures
The San Lazzaro ceramics. Courtesy of the monastery of San Lazzaro degli Armeni
Ewer (Pitcher), Uzbekistan, 17th c., bronze / casting alloy, engraving
Carpet, Iran, 1945, wool and cotton / knotting. Courtesy of the Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum
Leather carrying case, Syria, 1894, leather and metal. Courtesy of the Dutch National Museum of World Cultures

The exhibition contextualises the Majlis, featuring the people and materials involved in its construction. Showcasing artworks and rare artefacts from the Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum in Qatar, the Dutch National Museum of World Cultures in the Netherlands, the Scuola Grande di San Rocco of Venice, the monastery of San Lazzaro degli Armeni in the Venetian lagoon, and private collections, the project presents a platform for transnational, transcultural, and transhistorical exchange.


The room with Jörg Gruber’s photographs and examples of Moroccan wool
M’hammad the Shepherd and his Family. Near Ain Leuh, Atlas Mountains, Morocco 2019
Carpet Trader Abdel Azziz Amraoui's Family Home. Small village near Ain Leuh, Atlas Mountains, Morocco 2019
Ain Leuh Women's Weaving Cooperative. Atlas Mountains, Morocco 2019
Foreman on the Bamboo Plantation. El Quindío, Colombia 2019
Bamboo Plantation. El Quindío, Colombia 2019

At the core of the Majlis exhibition is a film and a series of photos by Jörg Gruber that document the different forms of craftsmanship that were involved in realizing the project: the surviving practices of herding, shearing, dyeing with natural pigment, and weaving on traditional looms in Morocco, as well as the processes of selecting bamboo and putting together the resilient construction in Colombia. The artisans, their tools, and materials themselves narrate the story of the Majlis — a story that may offer a key to our main question: how will we live together?


View of the textiles from the interior of the Majlis
View of the textiles from outside the Majlis
The Majlis Banner by Irini Gounou
The word “majlis” written in square Kufic calligraphy

The pieces of textile artwork that adorn the Majlis were designed by Nina Mohammad-Galbert, the Creative Director at Artisan Project, and woven by three women from the Ain Leuh Women’s Weaving Cooperative: Khadaouj Ouchkek, Hachmia El Douiri, and Khadija El Aabdi. The collection is titled The Story of Yan, with four movements, each one representing the different songs and moods of the weaver. The bamboo installation also features the Majils banner made by Irini Gounou. It is meant to honour both the desert and the meaning of Majlis as a meeting place for discussion that gives people the chance to come together. The word “majlis” is written in square Kufic calligraphy, a particular style of script from the 8th century AD that was widely used in architecture.