Stitch A Tree KarachiBiennale19

Haseena, Kanwal, Gul Naz, Uzma, Naseema, Seema, Salma, Bashira, Khatiya, Najma, Rubina, Kainaat, Madiha, Preah, Mariyam, Aqsa, Zulekhan, Aisha, Rukhsar, Naila, Mehtaab, Nusrat, Sameena, Rukhsana, Tania, Nazia, Reema, Fazela, Sahera, Shabana, Azra, Sumaya, Iqra, Safia, Qudsia, Azra, Abbas, Ghazala, Lubna, Sobia, Zobia, Meena, Arifana, Erum, Rukhsana, Aaraish, Saima, Hina, Zahida, Samina, Ghazala, Kalid, Seema, Shamim Ara, Sonia, Kulsoom, Samina, Aqeel, Siddiqa, Shakeela, Shah Jahan, Rabia, Sakeena, Zahida, Ayesha Bibi, Saeeda, Amraiza, Tabassum, Someya, Ramsha, Sidra, Amber, Najma, Shaheen, Majida, Aaliya, Aklima, Salma, Zehra M Ahmad, Bushra Pervaiz Kauser, Nighat Mayet, Rehaana Alam, Huma Majid, Ghazala Yasmeen, Shyma Raza Baig, Saira Naqui, Anoshis Mubarak, Shakila, Mumtaz, Nasreen Akbar (Pakistan)

Groups: Behbud, RLCC and Indus Resource Centre Karachi

Forest, 2019, Embroidery on cloth, 1317 cm x 411 cm

Alice Kettle’s project Thread Bearing Witness was launched in 2017 and looked at issues of displacement and cultural movement using textiles and specifically stitch as a common language. The project included a public participation strand called Stitch a Tree project which invited small stitched contributions from individuals, groups and refugee communities to create a collective artwork which demonstrated solidarity and resilience. The tree acts as a creative metaphor, inviting participants to consider their lives, mapped onto the tree: roots representing cultural and social histories; branches representing sustainable futures. The trees reinforce our relationship with the environment and collectively as a forest represent the positive nature of individuality and diversity as an attribute of social cohesion.

For KB19, Stitch a Tree creates a new Forest with the expert embroiderers of the region. Embroidery is one of the important practices undertaken by women. The new work celebrates the extraordinary skills of various groups, the distinct styles and stitches of indigenous embroidery. The work valorizes and brings together in one artwork the voice of women embroiderers in Pakistan. The work is made by them, reflecting the distinct identity of Pakistani embroidery and the importance of these women’s contribution to cultural, economic and social life. In the Forest we come together as one community, using stitch to unify us in a shared language of making.