On view May 25 – August 24, 2019
The Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts at Florida Tech and Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) premiere Forced to Flee. This powerful exhibition features 36 quilts tackling subjects ranging from human conflict to natural disasters. Art quilts have long challenged the notion that quilting is a “comfortable” art form, and in keeping with this idea, Forced to Flee asked participating artists to address an important and timely subject - the global refugee crisis.
Throughout history people have been forced to flee from their homes for their own safety and survival due to war, oppression, natural disasters, and atrocious human rights violations. The 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees was adopted to address the increasingly growing numbers of people needing protection with the understanding that effective solutions would require international co-operation. That Convention document continues to influence the measures used today to attempt to address the global challenges arising from the current refugee crisis impacting countries across the globe.
Artists were encouraged to illustrate these issues, including their impact on families and communities, the stress placed on host countries, and the need for new initiatives, funding, and international cooperation to find solutions.
Images (from left): Eunhee Lee (South Korea) They Are Also Us. Photo courtesy of the artist; Karin Täuber (USA), Life Jacket Graveyard of Lesvos, 2018. Photo courtesy of the artist; Diane E. Wespiser (USA), Wanted - A Home, 2018. Photo by Robert Wespiser.
On view May 25 – August 24, 2019
In conjunction with the art quilt exhibition Forced to Flee, the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts at Florida Tech presents over seventy-five embroideries and stitched works by Austrian artist and activist Tanja Boukal. Boukal’s art examines socio-political themes, often exposing the challenges of marginalized people in the midst of difficult situations. The artist states, “My starting point is the human dignity. I often place extraordinary people at the center of my works. I do not want to depict them as individual characters, but rather as representatives of people, who are willing to walk long distances to achieve their goals. I give ‘curtain calls’ to people who usually stay out of sight.”
In the Unfinished Series, Boukal examines the development of the Egyptian revolution. Beginning with the “Day of Revolt” on January 25, 2011, this revolution represents one of the most important movements of the “Arabic spring.” The work is centered on the role of women in Egypt’s revolution. Through handcrafted and vivid embroideries on canvas, the artist explores women’s rights, sexual violence, and the public space. Boukal transcribes the photographic originals using a technique based on the satin stitch technique. By visually highlighting particular women, she emphasizes their important role in Egypt’s progress toward a democracy – a process which is far from over.
In addition, the Center will feature several works from the Those in Darkness Drop from Sight Series. These compositions - crafted through the intricate technique of illusion or “shadow” knitting - feature notorious women from around the world who play an active role in armed conflicts. The artist examines their representations in society as fighters, heroes, victims and villains.
Images: Tanja Boukal, Unfinished (Series), 2012 - 2013. Embroidery on canvas. Photos courtesy of Bernice Steinbaum Gallery.
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