Sounds of Silk: Instruments and Textiles from Silk Road Cultures

tags: Art Exhibits

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Sounds of Silk
Instruments and Textiles from Silk Road Cultures
Sat, Feb 24, 4–5:30pm
Concert & Lecture: Sat, Mar 17, 3–4pm

Katherine St. John and the Society for Preservation and Propagation of Eastern Arts have an extensive collection of musical instruments, traditional clothing and other textiles and items from cultures found on the ancient Silk Road, and seek to share these items, their history, and contemporary use with the general public.

The Great Silk Road is a popular name given to the system of caravan trade routes that lasted for many centuries linking Eastern and Western civilization between ancient times and the Middle Ages. The main route of the Silk Road traveled through China along the Gan-Su corridor, then through the Tarima basin, and the highlands of the Pamir and Tian-Shan ranges, into Central Asia, Afghanistan, Iran, the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea, and further along to the trading centers of the Near East and Europe.

The Silk Road first operated as a route between China and the capital of the Roman Empire in the 2nd century BC. It was approximately 7000 kilometers long. The most valuable material commodity imported from China at the time was silk, which is an obvious explanation for why this entire transcontinental trade route was named The Silk Road. However, many things were shared and traded, both tangible and intangible. Philosophies and religious concepts were shared, along with methods of art and design, culinary traditions, music, dance, and much more.

The Sounds of Silk exhibit has been featured at a number of locations over the past ten years including several months at the Charleston Heights Library in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2015; the former Utah Museum of Art; the Brown House Gallery in Springville and twice at the Bountiful Davis Art Center.

Katherine St. John is the artistic director of Eastern Arts, a society for the preservation and propagation of culture and dance from the Middle East and Central Asia. She holds an MA in Middle East Studies from the University of Utah and an MA from Brigham Young University (BYU) in ethnic dance pedagogy, where she completed a thesis on women's dance from Afghanistan.

She completed coursework toward a PhD in Dance History and Theory from University of California. She has taught at BYU and the University of Utah and has taught international dances at University of California Riverside. For 30 years, St. John has produced countless events with Eastern Arts such as concerts, workshops, lecture demonstrations, and exhibits throughout Utah, neighboring states and beyond, often arranging appearances by internationally known musicians and dancers.

St. John currently serves as president of the United Nations Association of Utah and on the board of the Bountiful Davis Summerfest International festival as artistic director. She has served on the boards of West Valley Arts Council, Utah Dance Educators Association, National Folk Organization, and Salt Lake Council of Women.

Location: Marmalade Branch

Contact Information: 801-594-8680