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Afghan War Rugs on Display

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(c) UNCW Presents
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The public gets a rare look at modern warfare through the eyes of Afghani refugees at a UNCW art exhibit showcasing modern 'war rugs.'

By Megan V. Williams

Wilmington, NC – The art is ancient, but the images are jarringly modern - tanks, pistols, and grenades, woven into the fabric of Oriental rugs.

UNCW Presents is exhibiting a dozen of these 'war rugs,' woven in Afghanistan and neighboring refugee camps during first the Soviet invasion and more recently the American actions.

Curator Shane Fernando says Afghanis use their rug designs form a pictorial history of the region.

"Going back thousands of years, you're able to get a good sense of what was going on at the time... These weavers design and weave what they see."

Fernando describes the rugs in this exhibit ranging from designs so intricate they look abstract, to very literal images of current events.

"There's one rug with the World Trade Center, with the airplanes flying into it and then across the whole rug is an image of the American flag and the Afghani flag and they've put a dove between the two, carrying an olive branch."

The rugs are on loan from local carpet collectors Bud and Peggy Dealey and are being shown alongside more traditional carpets with floral and abstract motifs.

UNCW Presents is putting on the exhibit in conjuction with the University's Common Readin Experience; all of the school's students this year are being encouraged to read The Kite Runner by Afghani author Khaled Hosseini.

The exhibit runs through this Monday in at the new Boseman gallery in UNCW's University Union.
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Read more about the exhibit at the University's website

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