The School of Religion, Theology, and Peace Studies at Trinity College Dublin is pleased to present ‘The Aesthetics of Chaos’: A Visual Introduction of Women’s Narratives in Afghan War Rug Artistry, in collaboration with Iranian rug expert and collector Saman Khodayarifard. Exhibition of War Rugs

Open to the public, free entry: 11-24 May Mon-Fri: 10am-7pm, Sat: 10am-4pm (closed on Sundays)

Curator Saman Khodayarifard will be giving tours of the exhibition at the following dates and times:
  • Wednesday 22 May, 5pm
  • Thursday 23 May, 1pm
No booking required. 

The exhibition features 21 pieces of war rugs from Afghanistan – all of which will be available for the 
public to view in Dublin for the first time. This exhibition will examine how these works of art create a symbolic language to represent conflict, suffering, and beauty. Images of war are often synonymous with destruction and despair. However, a unique form of art, the war rug, challenges this perception by combining modern imageries of war with the traditional motifs of rugs. The rugs incorporate tanks, helicopters, and weapons into the geometric patterns and floral designs of Afghan carpets. This juxtaposition is jarring and surreal, reflecting the disruption of war intruding into everyday life. 

The rugs can be seen as a grassroots form of protest art, using symbolic imagery to depict war from the perspectives of civilians. They also communicate the trauma, fear, anxiety, and surreal experience of living with violence that the weavers themselves faced, offering emotional and psychological perspectives on the impact of war. 

The role of women in the production of war rugs is particularly noteworthy. Afghan women have been largely responsible for creating these rugs, transforming a domestic and industrial art form into a powerful mode of expression and manifesting how there is no gender gap in the battle scene. The tactile experience of rugs adds layers of meaning to these objects, setting them apart from other types of visual art. 

These rugs serve not only as an expression against violence but also as a testament to the resilience of the people who create them in the face of devastating conflict.

To download the ‘The Aesthetics of Chaos’ Booklet,Aesthetics Of Chaos Exhibition: Booklet.

This exhibition is supported by the AHSS Faculty Events Fund.