when my friend got hit by a car, she couldn’t play on the carpet with us
cotton rag pulp made from old jeans and bedsheets,
coloured with earth pigments
the carpet is in equal parts an exploration of identity and a performance of labour and care. Through patterning, tending to the pulp, and careful construction, this work introduces the question of diasporic identity and the way that memory – personal and cultural – can create a somewhat fragile basis for a sense of self.
Materiality most directly informs my work, conceptually and practically. the carpet is made of old jeans and bedsheets, materials familiar to touch and play. The bedsheets, embroidered by my grandmother and brought over when my family came to so-called Canada, hold integral memories – memories that live in the body. Paper becomes a vital transformation in this work as it translates memory from the fabric into pulp, which then gathers its own through the papermaking process.
In this way, the use of earth pigments derived from stone, speaks to the memories of place. The ground rocks and minerals attach to each individual fibre, altering the way the pulp is interpreted. Colour and pattern are allowed to stand out, revealing the complicated nature of cultural and personal identity, as these patterns flow from the traditional woven carpet to tourist souvenirs to the carpet.
Ultimately, the carpet is a personal exploration of identity through nostalgia and through engagement with symbols used by nation-states to impose homogenous cultural identity. What can we hold onto in diasporic conditions? How does our own sense of self stand in conflict with our heritage? What memories rise to the surface when we handle them with care?