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Interwoven Worlds: Exploring Domestic and Nomadic Life in Turkey

-- Godwin-Ternbach Museum, Queens College, CUNY, at Flushing Town Hall

Curated by Amy H. Winter and Alexander Bauer --

FLUSHING, NY, February 9, 2012 – Interwoven Worlds: Exploring Domestic and Nomadic Life in Turkey will allow visitors to enter the simulated living spaces of a nomad’s tent and an Ottoman-style middle-class interior. This exhibition, organized by Queens College’s Godwin-Ternbach Museum (GTM), will be on view at Flushing Town Hall from March 9 through April 30.  

Curated by Alexander Bauer, assistant professor of anthropology at Queens College, and Amy H. Winter, director and curator of the GTM, the exhibition highlights textiles from the museum’s permanent collection alongside an array of objects to be found in a Turkish living space. Textiles—and particularly the carpets for which the Turks are famous—are the most important type of home furnishing and one of the primary forms of artistic expression in the larger Turkic world. On view will be hand-woven carpets, kilims (flat tapestry-woven rugs), cicims (embroidered flat-weave rugs), yataks (flat-woven bed coverings), two antique prayer rugs, as well as woven and embroidered accessories such as saddlebags, bedding, and hangings both for nomadic travel and for settled life.

Interwoven Worlds
looks at objects from the perspective of the “historic present”: through time and across space. It will show that Turkish culture, as all culture, is both a product of its own history and its (sometimes hidden) relationship with other cultures. At the same time, it will offer a full presentation of the museum’s artworks, including ancient ceramics, glass, and metalwork.

Visitors will enter the two dwellings to experience how such living quarters would look and be arranged. They will be able to remove their shoes and walk on soft-pile rugs of silk and wool. The various objects on display portray one of the most common denominators of human life—the domestic home—which is both an intimate space and a sacred refuge. These environments will be complemented by sound recordings, and digital displays of texts and photographs, examining the technologies, symbolism, and historical significance of the materials. (These materials, as well as essays, images, and a checklist, will be published in an online catalog available throughout the exhibition and archived for public access thereafter.)

Textiles are the centerpiece of the exhibition. Whether nomadic, agrarian, or urban, Turks have always protected themselves from the weather by covering floors, and often walls and doorways, with woven materials. Hand-made of wool, cotton, and silk, Turkish textiles, particularly carpets, are natural insulators used as blankets, curtains, and covers for sofas, cushions, and floors.

The Ottoman-style interior, still extant in both urban and rural locales, will represent a middle-class home. It will be simulated to show characteristic architectural elements like lathed and partitioned windows, wood paneling, wooden timbers, and seating banquettes, as well as embroidered and woven décor and wall hangings, carpets, and mock cupboards to display ceramic objects.

A tent typical of Turkic tribal cultures will be constructed for the nomadic interior. Throughout the 20th century nomadic peoples often had to migrate to cities—many times against their will—to work in factories, thus eroding their populations and ways of life. Even so, their traditions live on, as is well illustrated by the continued demand for their textiles. The simulation of a typical nomadic home will highlight the beautiful materials and sophisticated and inventive technologies of these cultures, exhibiting items often kept in families and clans for generations.

By examining the homes of both nomadic and settled people, Interwoven Worlds is able to bring together elements of the exotic and the familiar, to weave together identities and cultures. This helps to avoid the romanticizing of “other” cultures in favor of examining the rich aesthetics and significance of objects within functional contexts that acknowledge the shared basic needs—and solutions—of all peoples.

A collaboration between the Godwin-Ternbach Museum and Flushing Town Hall,
Interwoven Worlds is being held at the Flushing Town Hall (FTH), which is administered by the Flushing Council of Culture and the Arts (FCCA, a Smithsonian Affiliate), during the 2011-2012 academic year. As the GTM undergoes a major renovation and is closed to the public, the museum welcomes the opportunity to strengthen its relationship with FCCA.

An opening reception with traditional Turkish music and cuisine and a special lecture by Belkis Balpinar, founding director of the Vakiflar Carpet & Kilim Museum in Istanbul ( will be held Friday, March 9 at 5:30 pm. This event is sponsored in part by the Turkish Cultural Ministry and its affiliates and Güllüoglu Baklava & Café, Astoria, NY. Ongoing programs at FTH throughout the exhibition include children and family hands-on workshops, public school programs led by both GTM and FTH educators, and a lecture series:

Belkis Balpinar, founding Director, Vakiflar Carpet Museum, Istanbul, and modern kilim artist
Turkish Anatolian Kilims
Friday, March 9, 5:30 pm at Flushing Town Hall
Archeological findings and written material indicate that Anatolia was a textile center for more than 10,000 years. Added to this, the migration of nomadic Turkic tribes after the 11th century resulted in a great variety and diversity of Turkish flat woven rugs. Celebrated curator, author and weaving artist Belkis Balpinar discusses the dating, techniques and symbolism of the various types of flat-woven rugs and pile carpets that have made Turkey famous.

Kristina Richardson, Queens College History Department
Saturday, March 17, 2 pm, at Flushing Town Hall
A specialist in Islamic history, Richardson will provide a close examination and discussion of
key medieval pieces included in Interwoven Worlds to outline an emerging Islamic visual aesthetic that only crystallized in the 16th century.

Alexander A. Bauer, Queens College Anthropology Department
Thursday, March 22, 12:30 pm, at Flushing Town Hall
The homes of nomadic and settled peoples, and weaving, pottery and other craft traditions highlighted in Interwoven Worlds, have their origins in practices going as far back as the Neolithic period of the Ancient Near East. Bauer, co-curator of the exhibition and an archaeologist who co-directs a field project in the Black Sea region of Turkey, will discuss the long-term history of these traditions.

Andrew Hale
Sunday, April 1, 2 pm, at Flushing Town Hall
Hale’s Central Asian photo archive is the largest private collection of 19th- and early 20th-century photographs in the United States. He will draw from this incredible resource to discuss how early photographs document Central Asian costume and textile traditions.

This academic year Queens College is presenting the Year of Turkey, a series of lectures, live performances, and art exhibits that explore the many facets of Turkey: its politics, society, economy, and ethnicity as well as its art, literature, music, and film. For information on upcoming events, visit

Major funding for Interwoven Worlds has been generously provided by the Coby Foundation, Ltd.; the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency; and Bloomberg Philanthropy. Additional support has been provided by the Kupferberg Foundation, the Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Domenick and Rose Ciampa Foundation, Baklavaci Güllüolu, Vintage Food Corp., Office of the President, Queens College, and the Friends of the Godwin-Ternbach Museum. Special thanks to the Office of the Commercial Attaché, Consulate General of Turkey, NY, and Turkish Embassy, Washington, D.C.

The Godwin-Ternbach Museum at Queens College

The mission of Godwin-Ternbach Museum to preserve and display cultural objects for study by art students has grown over the last decade. Like its parent institutions, QC and CUNY, it advocates accessible, inclusive education through the liberal arts, using visual art and material culture as its vehicles. Professional and student-curated exhibitions draw on GTM’s permanent collection of over 4,000 objects from world cultures, dating from antiquity to the present. The breadth of these holdings allows presentations that serve the diverse communities of Queens, enlightening audiences about their own traditions and histories, those of other groups, and the American scene.

As the only encyclopedic museum in Queens—a part of the college’s Kupferberg Center for the Visual & Performing Arts—GTM introduces many individuals to art and artifacts they might not otherwise encounter.  Digital displays, catalogs, websites, lectures, symposia, films, and tours interpret objects through interdisciplinary lenses.

Kupferberg Center renovations will soon reveal a museum designed to serve audiences better, with a visitor orientation area, improved lighting, and rotating collection displays in the lobby. A new climate system will both preserve objects and permit GTM to enhance its shows with special loans. The complete Kupferberg project unifies the arts on campus with new signage and landscaping, giving the GTM and its partners a fresh presence as active and innovative entities in Queens and all of New York City.


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Arab and Israeli Negotiators Meet in Class with QC History Students
January 29
Free Films, Performances, Armstrong Museum Tours, Book Talks, and More During Black History Month
expand  2007
December 26
"Crossing the BLVD" at Godwin-Ternbach Museum Explores the Contemporary Immigrant Experience
December 03
Ribbon Cutting for Armstrong Alley on Dec. 6-- New Performance Space in Dining Hall
October 30
Steve Chen of Crystal Window & Door Systems To Speak At Queens College Business Forum
October 23
Press Conference and March on Quad this Wednesday To Raise Awareness of Domestic Violence
October 12
Borough's Largest History Conference Will Commemorate Anniversary of Flushing Remonstrance
October 01
Public Invited to Free Conference on History of Queens and Queens College on Saturday, Oct. 13
September 21
Spirit and Power in African Art at Godwin-Ternbach Museum
September 12
Excerpts from Ken Burns' New Series "The War" To Preview Here, With Discussion, on Sept. 20
August 27
Godwin-Ternbach Museum To Digitize Its Collection
August 16
Queens College Named One of “America's 25 Hottest Schools”
July 31
Columnist Sheryl McCarthy to Teach Journalism Courses
June 27
Professor Joshua Brumberg and Grad Student Publish Article on QC Research in Journal of Neuroscience
June 18
First Time in NY: Cuban-American "Sharing Dreams" Exhibition at Godwin-Ternbach Museum This Summer
June 11
Susan Issacs, Award-Winning Novelist, Essayist and Screenwriter, to Speak at Queens College commencement on May 31
June 01
Free Summer Continuing Ed Courses For Vets Returning from Iraq and Afghanistan
May 22
Three 2007 Grads Who Triumphed Over Adversity
May 15
QC to Break Ground May 18 on Remsen Hall Expansion
May 08
May 03
Freedom High, Inspired by 1964 Civil Rights Murders, Premieres; Era Activists Discuss the Play May 13
April 23
Con Ed's John Miksad To Speak About Summer Preparedness Planning At Queens College Business Forum
April 06
Earth Fair, Film, Lectures and Other "Green-Themed" Events at QC April 16-19
March 30
"Is It 1938 Again?" International Conference on World Jewry at Queens College April 22-23
March 15
Cinderella Finds Prince Charming--Beloved Musical Can Be Seen the Weekends of March 23 and 30
March 06
Mideast Hotspots are Focus of March 14 Symposium
February 15
Queens College to Solicit Proposals To Build Low-Rise On-Campus Dorm
February 08
NY Mets Exec Dave Howard To Speak About New Citi Field At QC Business Forum
February 01
Search for Fourth Queens Poet Laureate Has Begun!
January 23
Artist Used Computer-Assisted Loom to Weave Images On Display at QC Art Center, Feb. 6 - March 30
expand  2006
December 01
Themes of Love and Fate Resonate in 17th-Century Opera Dido & Aeneas--at QC December 9 and 10
November 16
Queens College Dedicates New Jewish Studies Library
November 08
Immigration Debate Continues at QC November 15
November 02
Art Center Show Bridges Natural and Constructed Space and East/West--Through December 22
October 26
Results of Landmark Lung Cancer Study Involving Queens College Are Released
October 24
Students Participate in WWII History Project; Veterans Memorial Plaza To Be Dedicated Nov. 10
October 13
William Ungar and His Wife, Jerry, Endow College's First Named Professorship in Jewish Studies
September 26
Computer Associates Co-Founder Russell Artzt to Speak at Queens College Business Forum
September 18
Queens College to Dedicate Mural on West Wall of Student Union Building, Monday, September 18
September 11
News Source on Middle East, Terrorism and the Israeli-Lebanon Conflict: Professor William B. Helmreich
August 30
College Receives $5 Million From New York State For Louis Armstrong House Museum Visitors Center
July 25
College Receives CISCO Systems "Relevance Award"
June 20
QC Faculty Deliver Free Urban Environmental Lectures on Governors Island Through August 12
May 30
UN Commander Romeo Dallaire, Who Tried to Stop Rwanda Genocide, to Speak at June 1 Commencement
May 04
Benjamin Britten's "War Requieum," an Anti-War Masterpiece, to be Performed Saturday, May 20
April 25
New Undergraduate Curriculum Requirements Adopted
April 07
EPA Awards $50,000 to GLOBE Environmental Teaching Program; Queens and Bronx Students to Benefit
March 28
"Light Listened"--Work by One of America's Foremost Glass Artists in Art Center Through July 31
February 24
"Orpheus Descending" Opera --Seen Only in 1994-- To Debut in New York at QC on March 23
January 26
African American History Month Event: Participants In M.L. King's Civil Rights Movement Hold Reunion
January 19
"How We Use Land: Photos of Queens County"-- Art Center Exhibition Opens February 8
expand  2005
December 16
Graduate Sean Talisman Triumphs Over Tragedy And Receives Major Scholarship for Law School
December 02
World's Foremost Collector of Islamic Art To Present Free Lecture and Slide Show Dec. 15
November 17
Should Nature Matter to New Yorkers? Phillip Lopate And Other Writers Tackle This Question Dec. 2
November 02
Armstrong Museum Acquires Largest Private Collection of Louis Armstrong Memorabilia
October 21
Press Conference and Silent March Oct. 27 For Domestic Violence Awareness Day
September 30
Free Program Offers Help for Children Who May Have Attention Deficit Disorder
September 19
Conference Sept. 26 on Queens Immigrant Experience
September 09
Children's Saturday Ed and Rec Program To Begin
September 02
"This Land to Me" Exhibit on Israeli-Palestinian
August 26
Catch "Wiggle & Wave" at the QC Arts Center
July 25
Radio Free Asia Founding President to Retire
June 30
Showcasing Music-Inspired Work by Queens Artists
June 27
Announcing the Search Committee for Dean Of the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute
June 15
First Annual Summer Fest July 31 Features Latin Jazz
May 25
Benefit Concert June 4 for Children's Music Program
May 20
June 2 Commencement Theme: Justice for '64 Murder Of QC Student and Civil Rights Worker Andy Goodman
May 10
GLOBE Science Training Expands
April 28
Thelma Davidson Adair, Harlem Educator and Community Advocate, to Speak May 5
April 07
"Speaking Across Differences"--Palestinian-Israeli Dialogue at Queens College on April 7
April 04
First-Ever Entrepreneurs Conference on April 15
April 04
Suzanne Benton Exhibit
February 18
New Equity Studies Research Center in Education
February 01
Annemarie Schwarzenbach: Selected Photos 1933 - 1940
January 25
"Time and the Tabletop" at Art Center
expand  2004
December 03
"Nurturing New York's Nature" at Queens College
November 19
New Work by Dance Stars Eiko & Koma To Debut at Queens College Dec. 9-12
November 02
Conference to Examine 100 Years of Zionism
October 25
Sculpture Exhibition by Greek Artist Opens
October 13
Unique Course on Mid East Clash Features Israeli and Palestinian Speakers
October 06
Poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko Lectures Oct. 13
September 29
Recent Museum Acquisitions: Work by Dürer, Max Ernst, Beardon
September 10
1972-73 Women's Basketball Team Inducted into NYC Basketball Hall of Fame
August 30
Art Center Exhibits Work Of Landscape Painter Dennis Cady
August 16
Biologist Corinne Michels Name Distinguished Professor at Queens College
May 24
QC Graduate Izeta Pobric Finds a New Life After Her Long Journey From Sarajevo to Flushing
May 24
Mozelle Duncan: From Nurse's Aid to Union Activist and Honors Grad & Ingrid Alexander: From a Navy Tour in Afghanistan to a New York City Classroom
May 07
$2 Million to Study Attention Deficit Disorder
April 28
Choreographer Yin Mei Wins Guggenheim
April 27
Probing the American Jewish Experience in Film
April 23
"Math for America" Names QC a Partner University
April 21
200 Expected for HS Science Fair April 29
April 15
Music School Grad Performs at Kennedy Center
April 05
Art Center presents The Art Libraries Society of North America: Members’ Exhibition
March 01
Hansel and Gretel, an Opera for all Ages, Arrives on March 17
February 11
Court is in Session as "The Apology of Socrates" is Heard
January 27
"Memory & History" Explores Ethnic Identity
January 09
Queens College Trailblazers in Women's Basketball (1968-1981) To Hold Reunion January 17
expand  2003
December 12
Ensuring a Safe and Positive Overnight School Field Trip
November 24
An Evening of Poetry and Music with Yevgeny Yevtushenko on December 11
November 06
CUNY Center For Higher Education Opens In Flushing
November 06
College To Host First International Tribute To Maimonides on Novermber 16
October 24
Walter Wolff Presents His Experiences as a Holocaust Survivor in Germany and Italy
October 23
"Ciphers in Time": Recent Italian Mixed-media Art by Angela Biancofiore, Luisella Carretta and Gian Carlo Pagliasso
September 26
Louis Armstrong House in Corona to Open For Public Tours Beginning October 16, 2003
September 08
Exhibit, Symposium and Video Explore McCarthy Era on Campus
August 28
Traces on the Wall: Works on Paper by Sloveniam Artist Metka Krasòvec
August 18
The Light of Infinite Wisdom: Asian Art From The Godwin-Ternbach Museum And Other Collections
July 10
Medgar Evers Biologist Receives Award for Summer Research at Queens College
June 06
High School Juniors Receive New Presidential Excellence Award
May 16
Daline Derival Graduate: Preparing for a Career in Public Health
May 16
Taruna Sadhoo Graduate: Determined to Improve Education for Women and the Poor
April 28
Queens College Summer Camp Combines Education and Sports
April 21
Queens College Presents “States of the Union” Exhibition By Two Women Artists and Friends
April 14
Mayor Bloomberg Hosts Reception at Queens College to Celebrate Disabilities Awareness Month
March 24
Italian American Museum to Honor Cultural Leaders at April 11 Gala and Awards Ceremony
March 12
Angelo Spinelli: Behind the Barbed Wire

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