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Materialising HIV/AIDS in the Keiskamma Altarpiece

Brenda Schmahmann

Made by the Keiskamma Art Project in Hamburg in South Africa, the Keiskamma Altarpiece (2005) is modelled after the Isenheim Altarpiece (1515). While the Isenheim Altarpiece seems to have provided comfort to victims of a gangrenous skin condition, ergotism, the Keiskamma Altarpiece offers reassurance to those suffering the impact of HIV/AIDS. In this paper, I argue that the use of embroidery and stitching in the Keiskamma Altarpiece has significant impact on the ways in which it is experienced, suggesting that the materiality of the work, and not simply the choice of subject matter, make reference to Hamburg’s negotiation of HIV/AIDS and gender politics surrounding the disease.

Mon, 27 Jan 14 0

The Sexual Stitch: Ghada Amer and the Affective Labour of Images

Kimberly Lamm

This essay brings Rozsika Parker’s The Subversive Stitch to bear on Ghada Amer’s embroidered canvasses to argue that her body of work reveals the affective labor that goes into presenting oneself as an image of sexual availability. Embroidery, which, as Parker shows, has a historically low place on the scales of both art and work, is a means for Amer to reveal the ubiquitous labor women perform composing images that create auras of sexual stimulation and comfort. Together, Amer’s and Parker’s arguments create possibilities for seeing the connections between the imperative within the West that women put their bodies on sexual display, and the imperative within the Islamic Middle East that women wear the veil: two connected dimensions of the affective labor women perform sustaining images of community.

Mon, 27 Jan 14 0

Stitching subversively; or forging a space for non-normative Xhosa identities

Liese Van Der Watt

This essay brings Rozsika Parker’s The Subversive Stitch to bear on Ghada Amer’s embroidered canvasses to argue that her body of work reveals the affective labor that goes into presenting oneself as an image of sexual availability. Embroidery, which, as Parker shows, has a historically low place on the scales of both art and work, is a means for Amer to reveal the ubiquitous labor women perform composing images that create auras of sexual stimulation and comfort. Together, Amer’s and Parker’s arguments create possibilities for seeing the connections between the imperative within the West that women put their bodies on sexual display, and the imperative within the Islamic Middle East that women wear the veil: two connected dimensions of the affective labor women perform sustaining images of community.

Mon, 27 Jan 14 0

Ladydrawers Comic Collective, Our Fashion Year

Anne Elizabeth Moore

Using a mix of original data, research, and humor, the Ladydrawers Comics Collective puts out a monthly journalistic comic strip that explores how gender bias impacts culture. The current series, “Our Fashion Year,” traces fast fashion from the tail-end of the second-hand clothing industry back through the distribution and production line to the workers themselves, who frequently labor in informal industries like sex work to sustain themselves. This presentation will describe the unique collaborative methodology of the Ladydrawers in the context of globalization, as well as an overview of our output and findings on the garment industry itself.

Mon, 27 Jan 14 0

When you bag a bargain, who pays for it?

Leah Borromeo

At the heart of the film will be the human stories of the people who work the fields to form the threads of our moral fibre. We will ask, "When you bag a bargain, who pays for it?” We will follow the thread of our clothing from seed to shop - from farmers to brokers and bankers to the factories and manufacturers through to the labels we love to wear. We’ll show the environmental and social impact of the intense use of pesticides, will engage in the debate around genetically modified seed, investigate the concept of fair trade, explore the viability of organic cotton and probe the structures that make the rich rich and the poor poor. We’ll emphasise the need for traceability and accountability in the fashion industry - how to look good, and do good.

Mon, 27 Jan 14 0