The Routes We Thread is a collaborative exhibition with Indian photographer Arpita Shah to produce new work in response to healing, renewal and re-birth. we worked with a group of twelve women to explore Scotland's complex history with Iran, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, Jamaica, Guyana and Eritrea. In series of workshops we exchanging stories and skills in photography and embroidery, to trace mixed heritage and shared experiences of women living in Scotland. Using traditional dress as primary reference, all twelve women created layered visualisations of their lived experiences of either moving to Scotland from outside the UK, or their experience of growing up in Scotland with mixed heritage. These embroidered photographs explore the complex layers of identity, symbolising the cultural, political and personal threads we carry around with us.
we had a joint residency for share themes and explore cultural motif, the notion of home and belonging and the experience of displacement and migration of individuals around the world. we use dress as a visual tool for cultural and traditional storytelling and as an expression of individuality and identity. we choose to root each women's story with an item of clothing to demonstrate the multiplicity of culture in Scotland today.
In the second half of residency, we began to experiment with the images created during the workshops, using light, materiality and transparency to marry the ten works and to map the unique journeys within a gallery context. This work cavorts and carouses above the gallery floor, mapping the histories and complex identities of the artists and the women they have collaborated with, symbolising the importance of one's cultural roots.
Scotland is home to so many diverse individuals and communities, all with really unique stories that lead them here. The Routes We Thread celebrates these journeys but also looks at the complexities inherent in the meaning of home for individuals with scattered histories and identities.
“Women of diaspora always feel divided, a part of us always takes us back to our roots”