The immense power of threads, after a long history of subordination, is gradually shaking down the gratuitous barrier between ‘high art’ and ‘low art’ in contemporary art practice, which is in continuous search for new artistic languages. ‘Allegories of Threads’, presented by Dhi Artspace, attempts not to conform to the paradigm of ‘textile art’, rather provokes one to think about many meanings of ‘threads’. Four diverse and intriguing responses to the theme came from the artists Gözde İlkin, Sharmistha Kar, Shruti Mahajan and Sumana Som.
Shruti, in her recent series, ‘Will/ Wasiyat’, considers thread as a symbol of the journey of human souls and the very desire to continue to exist by writing their last wills on a piece of paper. The ‘Thread’ here touches upon a philosophical aspect of life, death and the journey in between.
Sumana’s embroidered fabrics are the reflection of her understanding of space through power, gender and the art of map-making. To create an enduring layer of fabric, her needle pierces the cloth and stitches her thoughts with colourful threads. While Sumana addresses the politics of a space from its interior, Sharmistha largely adopts the role of an outsider in a given space. Her bunka-embroidered works trace the trails of human migration and memories that individuals carry with them. Memory is something that Gözde preserves in her works through stains and stitches on found fabric. She incorporates the ‘feminised’ and ‘feeble’ embroidery medium to address social, political and environmental concerns.
‘Allegories of Threads’, therefore, becomes a potpourri of many narratives, dialogues and questions.