Saturday, October 12

25 Million Stitches - A Public Engagement Art Installation


 I came across the 25 million stitches project on the Instagram feed of @jennifercoynequdeen and that's how I decided to get involved. I hope you will too.
Conflict whether economic or political causes people to move and it is usually on foot. On a map lines for each person or group of people would disperse from one point and congregate at another . It was a visual depiction of this exodus and criss crossing of humanity across the globe which I wanted to represent in my panel.
While working on the panel I came across a special issue of the National Geographic - World On The Move 08.2019 which is dedicated to migrants, refugees, a world on the move for so many different reasons.  There is Paul Salopek who 'is chronicling a story for the ages: the mass migrations in which millions of people are searching for a better place.'

An excerpt from the article A World on the Move : ' The United Nations estimates  that more than a billion people - one in seven humans alive today - are voting with their feet, migrating within their countries or across international borders. Millions  are fleeing violence: war, persecution, criminality, political chaos. Many more, suffocated by poverty, are seeking economic relief beyond their horizons. The roots of this colossal new exodus include a globalised market system that tears apart social safety nets, a pollutant  - warped climate, and human yearnings supercharged by distant media. In sheer numbers, this is the largest diaspora in the long history of our species.
I worked the panel with Feather Stitch. it's one of my favourite stitches.

 The other publication with a story on human migration was The Taj Volume 46 No.1. Archiving Material Memory. When memory is across the border that can never be home again ... Aanchal Malhotra writes of the memories of migration buried within "things", sometimes mundane, utilitarian and occasionally intensely personal.
In August 1947 when the British Raj over India came to an end the sub continent was partitioned into India and Pakistan and later Bangladesh. People fled their homes with little or nothing but the clothes on their backs.
An excerpt : 'As I contemplated the notion of home and what it might have felt like to flee from it hastily, I pictured an arduous journey to a future one couldn't foresee. I tried to imagine emptying out one's whole abode, an entire life, every single belonging, and hoping to take it with you. Alternatively, I tried toimagine leaving every single thing behind. And in doing so, I thought of all that refugees brought with them: the objects that became their companions on the way to a new citizenship - from things as banal as household items to those of precious value. Such artifact would be a reservoir of memory and experience, its physical weight outweighed by the emotional weight cached into over the years. It would,in a way, occupy the weight of the past.'

My maternal grandmother and seven children fled Burma at the end of WW2 and boarded a ship back to India. She was always known as Burma Amachy and we have all developed a taste for khow swey and learned to cook it from our mothers. I'm sure most people have a migration story which they can relate to and have first hand experience of it or are just a generation away.

That's the complete panel. I spent time in a safe and secure environment doing the embroidery on this piece. I hope the 25 million refugees will find safety and security for themselves and their families.
I intend to start my second panel along with my mother in a months time.I'm hoping to hear about her childhood in Burma and the move to India while we embroider the panels together. I want to write down her stories, she's the only surviving sibling.
Have a good weekend.

3 comments:

Cheryl said...

Thank you for sharing! Your panel looks lovely. I hope to finish mine also this month. What ag idea to stitch with you Mom and hear her stories. That's what this project is all about.

greeneggs said...

What a beautiful embroidery, made even more precious by the deep meaning behind it.

Joanne Edel said...

Thank you for this wonderful story and beautiful panel. I also hope to send mine soon. And maybe find a way to do a shared panel next.

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