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“Not a straight line but a spiral”: Charting continuity and change in textiles informed by feminism

Dr. Alexandra M. Kokoli

This paper examines two case studies that illustrate Rozsika Parker’s description of the evolution of feminism and embroidery as a spiral rather than a straight line: the recent retrospective exhibition of crochet and mixed media by Su Richardson (Goldsmiths, 2012), a participant in the collaborative mail art and installation project Feministo (1975-1977); and Bronwyn Platten’s quilted homage to Mike Kelley, ‘For more and more love hours’, which questions Faith Wilding’s dismissal of Kelley’s work as an abject reification of ‘bad boy’ masculinity, to suggest feminist and gender-critical alliances across genders and generations.

Mon, 27 Jan 14 0

Unpicking Queer History in the National Trust

Matt Smith

Unravelled curates and commissions site specific works in historic houses. By enabling a plurality of artist responses, the exhibitions avoid any dominant discourse and adopt a feminist position; histories that are often marginalised are given centre stage. This talk will focus on an intervention I created for Nymans House called Piccadilly 1830. Centred on Nymans’ most famous resident, the stage designer Oliver Messel, the intervention disrupted the traditional role of the historic house as source of dominant ideas about national identity and explored his relationship with Vagn Riis Hansen.

Mon, 27 Jan 14 0

Second Skins: cloth, difference and the art of transformation

Christine Checinska

Second Skins: cloth, difference and the art of transformation takes as its departure point the photographic portraits of Maud Sulter and Chan-Hyo Bae to explore (i) the place of cloth in the refashioning of cultural, racial and gendered identities and (ii) the use of cloth as a vehicle with which to challenge structures of power that render certain peoples, their histories and their cultural expressions invisible.

Mon, 27 Jan 14 0

A spoonful of craft helps the activism go down

Sarah Corbett

We live in an ever-changing world where many forms of activism are not as effective as they once were. We need to adopt some new activism tactics: craft such as hand embroidery can address some of the problems in traditional activism and should become a valued tool in the activism toolbox. Craft connects your heart, head and hands, and when you relate that to justice issues, it can be world-changing personally and politically. I will talk on three ways in which craft really can help the activism go down.

Mon, 27 Jan 14 0

Cut from the same cloth: the maid, madam and maker in Mary Sibande’s figure of Sophie Ntombikayise

Leora Farber

Mary Sibande forms part of an emergent generation of young black artists who are grappling with the complexities of visually remaking the cultural self and other in the context of contemporary South Africa. In her sculptural and photographic work, Sibande assumes the persona of her alter ego, a black domestic worker named ‘Sophie Ntombikayise’. Sophie wears a maid’s uniform that has been partially transformed into a Victorian ball gown or regal attire. By reconfiguring the ‘ladies’ gown as a domestic worker’s ‘uniform’, Sibande inverts the social power indexed by Victorian dress and uses clothing in ways that unpick inherited binaries haunting understandings of difference in South Africa. Her work gestures towards ways in which artists might embark on a cultural remaking of the self and other, contributing to new imaginings of South African identities.

Mon, 27 Jan 14 0