Thursday, October 31

A second panel for 25 Million Stitches

I've begun work on my second panel for the 25 Million Stitches public art engagement installation.

I stitch while helping my parents pack and move to an assisted living facility. It's a big move and a big change. I hope I can try and make the transition as smooth and easy for them as possible.

Progress on the panel. Working from one end to the other.

Change is not easy. 
Mamma is choosing photographs to take with her from albums that contain photographs of individuals from five generations. 
It's lovely to look back in time and remember. Then one realises how we've changed with the passage of time.
And so it is. Ever changing never stopping.
The seasons are changing too, the North East monsoons have begun and the rain has turned parched garden green. It's a welcome sight to gaze at while one sits on the verandah and sips tea.

How are you handling change? What's your mantra?

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.