Thread Bearing Witness
The Whitworth, Manchester Sept 2018 –April 2019
A major two venue project presenting new monumental textile works considering refugee displacement and movement. It includes significant new works by Alice Kettle & collaborative works with refugees from Dunkirk, North West & South England made through contribution and co-creation. It develops creative practice, creativity as resilience and supports and explores the intangible cultural heritage skills of refugee women, children and unaccompanied minors. It embraces personal testimonies and textiles role from the domestic to the spectacular to create a legacy of understanding and a chronicle of shared making. Migration is the defining issue of our time. How each individual, group, industry and family choose to respond to this subject will shape the foundations of our future communities. Simultaneously, Alice is working on a local level to connect personally with individual women and children refugees and asylum seekers, asking them to work with her to contribute to and inform new monumental stitched artworks. These artworks are inspired by the strength, resilience, and hospitality of refugees and asylum seekers whom she and her family have worked with. The Digital Women’s Archive North CIC (DWAN) is linking to the project the Travelling Heritage Bureau which will address both the need to ensure the participation of women artists in contributing to arts archives, and the additional complexities of displacement for undertaking arts archive development. Textiles offers a powerful medium through which to explore themes of cultural heritage, journeys and displacement. Embroidery is a domestic practice representing home-making, it is steeped in the history of trade routes with its global connections to production and pattern. The exhibition will use thread to examine the interconnected social world we live within.