Gather your spools, let your hair down for me. Gently. Here. Undo
As part of the CCA Glasgow exhibition, ambi, Raisa Kabir presents her new moving portrait and sculpture work responding to the textile geographies of labour between Kashmiri woven shawls, Paisley, Scotland, textile archives, and South Asian diasporic migration and displacement. The sculptural weaving, which features in the moving portrait, acts as a consequent reminder of the colonial imposed borders and the ongoing conflict between India and Pakistan.
“The performance in the moving portrait is a kind of queer ‘drag’ on embodying South Asian narratives. A performed fantasy of the craft labour/er. As this weaver doesn’t really exist in any land or geography. The moving portrait is set in an idea of nature, untethering the land and geography in relation to the crafted labour of Paisley designs, where the woven shawls originate in Kashmir, and the motif is found across textiles spanning the northwestern region of South Asia up into Afghanistan and Punjab.
The body of this craft labour/er has been displaced. I, performing these weaving actions, with these materials, in this place, am creating a fantasy based on the mythology of this weaver. There is no recreation. It aims to challenge the viewer to reexamine the histories placed on, or erased around the provenance of textiles and textile patterns. How this is intimately connected to border violence and colonial borders in that region, where decimated textile heritages and continuation of hand weaving brocade shawls has declined, and how that is linked to Scottish and British interaction, and the consumption of paisley patterned cloth divorced from the Boteh.” — Raisa Kabir
The title of the exhibition, ambi, is Punjabi for the pattern known in Scotland as Paisley Pattern. ambi also means ‘both’, allowing for multiple narratives and acknowledging that these works from the archive have diverse origins and appropriations.
This exhibition, a partnership between CCA and GSA, takes works from the textiles, fashion and costume holdings at The Glasgow School of Art Archives & Collections as its starting point. The GSA has specially commissioned four Scotland and UK-based artists and designers Rabiya Choudhry, Fiona Jardine, Raisa Kabir and Hanneline Visnes. Each responds to specific textiles holdings or the archive in order to track its histories in order to present a new story or work from it.
This film work can be viewed on CCA Annex until the end of the exhibition on Saturday 29 May.