Who makes our clothing? How has the shift from artisanal production to “fast fashion” over the last 150 years devalued women’s textile labor in Asia? How are heritage textile/garment traditions across Asia being preserved and revived by laborers and the organizations that support them?
Hosted by Art History & Visual Studies professor Melia Belli Bose, Gendered Threads of Globalization: 20th century Textile Crossings in Asia Pacific (GToG) unites scholars, activists and artists from across North America, Asia and Europe for a 3-day symposium dedicated to these issues.
All GToG events are free and open to the public, include panels (Fri-Sat, March 10-12, in room A103 of UVic’s Fine Arts building), a screening of Cathy Stevulak’s award-winning documentary THREADS (5:30pm Friday, same location) and a textile-based performance by visual artist Monica Jahan Bose (12:30 Sunday, March 12 in the lobby of UVic’s David Lam Auditorium).
Can’t make it in person? Register for the livestream here.
A scene from Cathy Stevulak’s documentary THREADS
Gendered Threads of Globalization: 20th c. Textile Crossings in Asia gathers specialists from a range of academic disciplines and artistic/artisanal practices to discuss intersections of gender, textiles/garments/fashion, labour and heritage across Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Taiwan, Japan, and the diaspora) during the long 20th century (ie: late 19th century to present).
GToG participants will investigate topics like
- heritage textiles/garments—their demise and revival
- gendered labor in the fashion industry
- confluences of identity (regional, communal, ethnic, religious), domesticity and agency
- activist art that critiques the global garment industry
- the evolution, consumption, appropriation and display of heritage textiles/garments.
Expect plenty of stimulating conversation for Asian textiles enthusiasts!
Friday’s keynote speech features Ashoka Fellow Judy Frater on “Threads of Identity in Kutch 2022: Gender, Value, Creativity and the Marketplace” (4:20pm in Fine Arts 103). Judy Frater is steeped in the world of contemporary textiles of Kutch, India. Residing in Kutch for 30 years, she co-founded and operated Kala Raksha, a cooperative for women embroiderers, established the Kala Raksha Textile Museum, founded Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya. the first design school for traditional artisans, and reinvented the school as Somaiya Kala Vidya.
A scene from Monica Jahan Bose’s WRAPture
Sunday will feature the work of Orion Visiting Artist Monica Jahan Bose, a Bangladeshi-American artist and activist whose work spans painting, film, photography, printmaking, performance, and interdisciplinary projects.
Her short film, WRAPture: A Public Art Project runs at 11:30am (Fine Arts building room 103), followed by a live textile-based performance in the lobby of the David Lam Auditorium (MacLaurin Building C-wing, room A144).
WRAPture follows a climate justice art project from Washington DC’s low-income Anacostia neighborhood to Barobaishdia—a remote Bangladeshi island on the frontlines of climate change—as Jahan Bose leads a dozen women farmers and over 200 Washingtonians to co-create 65 climate-themed saris, which wrap five Washington buildings. While they work on the saris, the participants recite poetry, sing, and dance, creating a trans-border community. The film includes rare footage and testimony of the impacts of climate change on coastal women farmers and the power of art to bring about change.