Tuesday, June 26, 2018

I'm a proponent of cultural appropriation in art - How politically incorrect is that?

I'm thinking of using knotting in a piece of work, researching Quipu and thinking about the political correctness of avoiding cultural appropriation in art. Cultural appropriation is a thorny issue, one I have been made keenly aware of in Canada. I hold in my heart regret for those whose culture has been appropriated whilst under colonial rule, or subjected to an imbalance of power.  This is not what I am involved in here.

Quipu are best known from the now lost civilization of S. America, but also from China and Hawaii... and thought to be a method of recording data, stories and double-entry accountancy.  Who would have thought that when researching for a mixed media/fibre art work I would need to read from The Accounting Historians' Journal?

Is cultural appropriation a bad thing?
Though the word appropriation has negative connotations, I argue that cultural appropriation can be a work for good.
Where would we be, I wonder, if no-one had picked up the idea of making marks on a cave wall and run with it?... Hmmm? (The latter remark to be said with a James Keziah Delaney intonation), to lighten the mood a little).
This, below, from Wikipedia (of course) says the same thing, a view expressing when cultural appropriation might be seen as a positive activity...

"A different view of cultural appropriation characterizes critics of the practice as "engaged in a deeply conservative project: one which first seeks to preserve in formaldehyde the content of an established culture and second tries to prevent others from interacting with that culture"   Proponents of cultural appropriation view it as often benign or mutually beneficial, citing mutation, product diversity, technological diffusion and cultural empathy as among its benefits."

I would add the word  progress to this list.
I can imagine a world where Quipu continues to be created in its original form as a tribute to the now, lost civilizations that practiced it in South America and others eg., China and Hawaii.  Alongside this I would advocate its progress and development in the same way I work with Trapunto (Italian), Shibori (Japanese) and Shisha (India) and other techniques that are traditionally associated with a specific culture (see names in parentheses), where I have studies the traditional form, and then moved it to a new and innovative use.

Please do comment as this is an area I would like to continue thinking about.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Working towards a show with Ilse Leader

"Slow-Stitch - Snail Shibori”

Materials: Fabrics, dye, wire.
Techniques incorporate: Shibori and a deep affection for the colour blue.

After encouragement and an invitation from Ilse Leader, I am joining her and showing works in the latter part of July, on Saltspring Island.
Blog link to follow shortly.
This little guy, is based on an amalgamation of memories from diving in the Gulf of Oman, researching the most fabulous of creatures (Nudibranchs) after Foraminifera who as single-celled sure take the biscuit, and walks along the SW shores of England... the Jurassic coast!
It was 'put together' after spending a morning of art-talk with Ilse and finding a light bulb had gone on.

More on this soon.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Teaching at Gulf Island Secondary School

The Gulf Island Secondary School (GISS) has a fabulous reputation... check out District 64's school on Saltspring Island.
I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to teach 3 days this week, during the Flex Period when students get to actually choose what to do.....
After meeting many None-Schooled and Home-Schooled kids recently I have learnt that many people prefer to have their children choose what to study as opposed to study via a hard and fast curriculum. I liked what I heard.
GISS appears to be walking the middle road in this.

My workshop followed on from the lecture "Paper to Puppetry, Shibori just Doesn't Cover It".
I gave a presentation and showed a video on Day 1 and the students had time to create paper arashi shibori sculptures.
Day 2 they formed shibori surfaces in synthetic fabrics and these were steamed.
Day 3 the students took the surfaces and either embellished them with stitch and beading or formed them into three dimensional beings.

It was a pleasure to share my knowledge with these enthusiastic Grade 9-12 students.
Here are some more photos.