Rumi Dalle, winner of the 2016 Boghossian Foundation Prize, is difficult to categorize – a collector, a designer, an artist – her installations show a craftsman’s skill and a fascination with material. Graduating with a Ba in Graphic design at the Lebanese American University, Dalle’s earliest experimentations began at home, creating fantasy worlds staged in her mother’s closet. An obsessive collector of old Photographs, she became a regular at antique shops and flea markets. Her collection of eccentric objects can be found around her workshop, including crafts from the 18th and the 19th centuries.
Rumi Dalle has travelled to different countries to learn first-hand about disappearing crafts from the people still practicing them. In Ireland, she did workshops with a felt-maker; her experiments with the material formed the basis for this first commercial installation in 2012, a window display for an Eyewear Boutique, The Counter.
As an installation artist, with a number of projects in the works, Dalle is currently revisiting materials in new ways, though he’s planning research trips to discover more folk crafts to integrate into his work.
Where of many of these traditional crafts are on the edge of dying out, Dalle’s path of curiosity is also one of preservation. She’s an archivist of sorts, drawing attention to distant crafts traditions and translating them to new cultures and generations.
In the peculiar space of Rumi Dalle, we discover a deep-rooted infatuation in soft arts and crafts from the 1800s.
Fine intricate articles – toys and memory jugs for the young, memorial wreaths for those long gone – are part of her personal collection.
Passed on from one generation to another, these objects were made in prisons, schools, convents, homes. Each tells the story of people who immersed themselves everyday in making, pouring their souls into what has become a relic, and what will inspire new works.
The outcome speaks to the senses: a certain feel, a certain light, a certain emotion.
This is a whirlwind journey of curiosity, one that has led Rumi to artisans to learn and preserve crafts that are being abandoned and disappearing.
Here, take a look into Rumi’s world: a parallel dimension that revolves around a worktable where everything is laid bare and finessed into living, breathing works.