Traditional Somali Aqal at MPavilion

Tue 20th February, 2024 – Sun 25th February, 2024
Queen Victoria Gardens, Melbourne VIC
A week-long series of participatory events between MPavilion and Qaymi Arts & Craft centred on traditional Somali weaving techniques.

Every summer, Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Gardens comes to life with an exclusive architectural commission designed by a globally renowned architect. This year, famed Japanese architect and Pritzker Prize laureate Tadao Ando has designed a meditative pavilion, which will play host to a whole range of events and activities throughout its four-month season.

MPavilion’s Craft Commission this year is courtesy of Qaymi Arts & Craft, an initiative led by traditional Somali weaver Muhubo Sulieman.

From Tuesday February 20 to Sunday February 25, visitors to MPavilion can join in and help Sulieman weave an aqal, the Somali name for a hut or a home. The result will be a thatched structure similar to those lived in by nomadic Somali people throughout history. Traditionally built by communities and gifted to new families, aqal are often adorned with handcrafted weavings that play a part in preserving Somali cultural heritage. Made from natural grasses, tree branches and recycled materials, the aqal represents home, family and togetherness.

Sulieman, who grew up in Somalia and has lived in Australia for two decades, taught herself to weave at a young age. She specialises in handweaving rugs, bags, wall decorations, baskets and more, bringing her Somali craft to broad audiences and working hard to carry on these traditions for generations to come.

These workshops are free to attend – just rock up and join in the fun.

Browse the full MPavilion program.

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