Tomorrows Tigers: Harland Miller X WWF
The incredible Harland Miller has collaborated with WWF and Artwise to create a limited edition art rug. Miller is one of ten internally celebrated artists who have designed unique and exciting fine art pieces that are then transformed into custom made rugs. The project is in aid of the Tx2 goal – a global pledge to double the number of tigers in the wild by 2022, which is the next Chinese year of the tiger. Miller’s piece pairs the earthy colours of a Tiger with his iconic book cover motif to create a thought-provoking and stylish piece.
At the start of the 20th century, experts estimate that there were as many as 100,000 tigers in the wild. Today, poaching and habitat loss have shrunk the global population by over 95%, with around 3,900 tigers remaining. Through the work of organisations like the WWF, Tx2 has been pushing innovative and ambitious conservation efforts, working to reverse the global decline of tigers in the wild. This project is an ingenious and alternative fund-raising tactic. It combines an artistic celebration of the majestic animals, with traditional craftsmanship from India, one of the most important tiger habitats in the world. The goal is to generate £1 million from the sale of these highly collectable art rugs to support TX2.
Alongside Harland Miller, Anish Kapoor, Maya Lin, Raqib Shaw and Kiki Smith (to name a few) were encouraged to take their inspiration from the legendary Tibetan Tiger Rug, and the splendour of tigers in the wild. The collection is extraordinarily diverse, with the unique style of each artist celebrating tigers in their own personal way. All of the artworks were shown alongside a selection of nine antique Tibetan Tiger Rugs at Sotheby’s, London from 29 Jan – 4 Feb 2019. There are currently only 164 of these rare antique rugs known to still be in existence! They were originally created in Tibet in the 19th century as gifts for monks. The tiger motif is traditionally used as a symbol of protection during meditation.
Harland’s piece is slightly different from his usual style. Nature evidently plays an important inspirational role, with a slightly more organic feel in the colours and style of the piece. The word ‘If’ seems to allude to the uncertainty of the survival of tigers, and their heartbreaking fragility. Yet, it also communicates a hopeful message, the infinite possibilities of the future are presented as if to say ‘tigers will survive If we act. The rug itself will be hand made to order in a limited edition of just ten pieces. They are lovingly made by craftspeople in Mirzapur, in the hills of northern India. Innovative and bespoke weaving techniques are used alongside specialist hand dyeing and the finest natural wools and silks. Each rug is as unique as the original design by the artist, and are made with the highest craftsmanship at every level.