“Risham Syed created the series of quilts Seven Seas (2012) for the prestigious Abraaj Capital Art Prize, and given the subject of her proposal – the impact of colonial trade – it was entirely appropriate that she utilised textiles to tell this particular story. Each quilt – two are shown in this exhibition – depicts a map of a strategic port city in a different country, including Turkey, Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan. These cities were also sites of resistance against the imperial powers; this is alluded to by the inclusion of photographic imagery and military buttons. Fabrics, embroidery and imagery are layered to create complex works that invite considered reflection. The base fabric prints reference Victorian Britain, and the use of indigenous fabrics locates the works more specifically within particular regions. Hand-stitched kantha figures have been released from their original incarnations to dance across the surface of Chittagong Hill Tracts. The backs of the quilts have also been made from appropriate local fabrics, adding another layer of meaning…”
Art_Textiles runs from 10 October to 31 January 2016 the Whitworth, University of Manchester.