Guest Bloggers: We Stitch Angry
Recalling a few events at Greenbelt 2012 that you might have missed, our Guest Bloggers are here to brighten up those dark post-Greenbelt months! Here’s Alice Wroe on the art installation We Stitch Angry...
People enter Centaur en masse, the largest (and driest) of Greenbelt’s venues, queues snake round the corner for John Bell, Tom Wright and The Rising. At times, a whole army of wellies diligently waits for their bare footed owners inside. But tucked away in the corner of the foyer, near the toilets, was my Greenbelt highlight.
Mounted on a wire fence was a line of twelve embroidered messages. The sort you find at your Grandmother’s house, or adorning the walls of quaint village halls. From a distance they are simply aesthetically pleasing, emitting a sense of homeliness and moral virtue, maybe a whiff of carrot cake. As you get closer to the sweet little stitchings however, rather than “Home is where the heart is” or “In God we trust”, I am confronted with satiric and striking messages like “A checkpoint a day keeps the doctor away”. Beneath is an explanation – even ambulances are stopped and checked before they can pass through the separation wall in Palestine.
These embroideries are the feisty politically-minded granddaughters of the ones that are stitched on our great aunt’s sofa cushions, or sit quietly in the window of a sleepy vicarage. These embroideries have the same twee look, the pastel threads and delicate motifs, but instead read things like “The Wall makes us cross (stitch)”.
Like “The Vulva Blanket” by the Shoreditch Sisters and Judy Chicago’s “Dinner Party”, the Amos Trust have appropriated this typically feminine underappreciated art form, and subverted its limitations, elevating it by starkly contrasting the medium with the hostile and un-homely crisis in Palestine and Israel. This understated exhibition felt to me to have the perfect measure of tongue-in-cheek humour and political starkness, and left me smiling as well as thinking.