Esari Turkoman Rug with Poppies
This spice installation recreated an Afghan War Rug that depicts 2 AK-47 rifles and a field of poppy flowers, along with 2 vases of poppies. So much of Afghanistan is devoted to poppies and opium production. Initially discouraged by the Taliban, it was later realized to be a great source of wealth for warlords, and also a way to damage Western society.
The installation was part of "She-Bang" an exhibition curated by Lisa K. Erf for the Three Arts Club in Chicago in 2002. It is made from spices -- poppyseeds, sesame, ginger, turmeric, paprika, and more -- laid loosely onto a mat. The endeavor is inspired by Tibetan Sand Mandalas and Afghan War Rugs, woven by Afghan women since the 1978 Soviet invasion of their country. The tradition continues to this day, with new imagery reflecting the US occupation.
Three Arts Club was a home for women in the arts located in Chicago, which resonated well with the background of women designing the original carpet.
At the conclusion of the She-Bang exhibition, the spices were poured into a jar, and later dispersed.