I will be speaking at the one day symposium ‘Interdisciplinary Approaches to Corpse Work‘ event in June about my research surrounding cloth and clothing found in mass graves.
My research explores fabric and clothing found in mass graves which has evolved into interdisciplinary sculptural installation artwork. Memory, individuality and identity is indelibly left behind within materials and belongings including our bones. In this paper I will discuss how my research develops into artwork exploring identity and individuality. I will show examples of my work to date as well as exploring the themes that I propose to continue to research within a PhD next year. Textiles and clothing are often part of the primary tools used to identify human remains after atrocity. In Rwanda people had made their own clothing making it very personal and individual. In Bosnia, particularly Srebrenica, people had not been able to leave the enclave, and resorted to making and repairing their clothing. In Iraq, many people began to sew their identity documents into secret pockets within their clothing. These identity documents were later vital for the identification of the dead. The fabric used as blindfolds and ligatures, in Bosnia Herzegovina were consistent across many mass grave sites this evidence was part of the proof that events at Srebrenica amounted to genocide. Fabric is an important part of identifying these individuals and it is this research that has formed the basis of my artistic practice for the last 3 to 4 years. I have explored evidence of fabric found within Mass Graves predominantly within Bosnia but also other countries including Kosovo and Iraq. Borders too are an important element for my exploration, the borders between countries as a touchpoint for conflict, but clothing and skin, life and death, homeland and refugee are also borders. This work has evolved through my undergraduate degree in Textiles for which I was awarded first class honours, and into my current MFA (Master of Fine Art) at Oxford Brookes University.