TEXT: REBECA SCHILLER
Over the years we’ve covered quilters and other textile artists who have used their art as a forum of protest or to convey a political message. Earlier this year, the Artists Circle Alliance, consisting of ten textile artists, including HAND/EYE contributor Jane Dunnewold, discussed in a private group on Facebook how stressed they were—since the inauguration. Among the discussions the women had was how they could create art to counter the fear and frustration they felt over the policies of the current administration.
Soon afterwards, the discussions veered to the idea of creating an exhibition of fiber art that would reflect their concerns and speak out against corruption and oppression, hatred and lies. The idea turned into reality and named Threads of Resistance. Themes for potential artwork varied from Black Lives Matter to Climate Change to Equal Rights.
Threads of Resistance is a juried exhibition. The group received more than 550 submissions after the call for entries was announced.
Among the pieces entered was Amy Dane’s Not So Safe, highlighting the safety pin trend that emerged on social media. “Wearing a safety pin was celebrated as an easy way to show support for those negatively affected by his win, and the idea spread rapidly. Those in favor of the concept claimed that a simple safety pin attached to one’s coat would show that person to be a “safe space” for people who were being further marginalized by Trump and his followers,” explained Dane.
Katherine McClelland’s Speak Truth expresses setting aside complacency about becoming involved in “disrupting hate and supporting my fellow human beings. Marching with my 12-year-old daughter in Washington D.C. in January was an important and empowering moment for me so I chose to focus on an image of myself wearing the iconic Pink Pussy hat. I wanted the words to be present but not overpowering. To see all the text the viewer has to move around, change their viewpoint, and take a moment to read. In doing so, the viewer becomes more active and less passive.”
Nevertheless, They Persisted by Do Palma is the artist’s response to Mitch McConnell’s decision to block Elizabeth Warren from testifying at the Senate confirmation hearing for Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “Warren was reading a letter from Coretta Scott King that was critical of Mr. Sessions. McConnell stated, ‘She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.’ Later, other (male) senators read the same letter into the record.”
Lyric Montgomery Kinard’s Still Yearning conveys from it’s very inception, “the privilege of citizenship in the Unites States of America has been denied to group after group, based on race and religion…We have turned away people after people who have sought refuge and opportunity. Now our leaders have chosen to vilify Muslims fleeing massacre and Mexicans seeking a better life for their children. We as citizens can choose to better live the highest of our American values; “that all men are created equal.” Through our individual actions and compassion we can stitch our country into a tapestry of great strength and beauty. Through our votes and civil dialogue and understanding of the data gathered by scientists, we can mend the tears in the fabric of our society.”
Threads of Resistance will first be exhibited at The New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, MA from July 11 and will run through September 9, 2017.
For more information and venues, please visit www.threadsofresistance.com