The exhibition ‘Common Threads: Weaving Stories Across Time’ at the Isabella Stewart Garner Museum showcases the works of artists who are redefining textile art through mediums including music, video, and participatory art. Works by artists El Anatsui, William Kentridge, Lee Mingwei, The Raqs Media Collective, Elaine Reichek, Nevet Yitzhak, and Standard Incomparable (a collective project spearheaded by artist Helen Mirra) will be installed in Hostetter Gallery in the new building.
“In Common Threads, visitors will discover how tapestries, carpets, and other textiles carry the personal and political stories of artists and weavers from many different traditions and backgrounds all over the world,” says Pieranna Cavalchini, the Museum’s Tom and Lisa Blumenthal Curator of Contemporary Art. “This exhibition reminds us that artists today are redefining a traditional art form in multiple ways that prove the enduring appeal of the fiber medium.”
El Anatsui, a Ghanaian artist who lives and works in Nigeria, in this show used flattened metal slats from re-purposed liquor caps to make “Many Came Back” (2005). Stitching the caps together with copper wire allows the metal to bend in softly draping folds, giving the work its sculptural property. The work, on loan from the Newark Museum, has many correlations to African history, including the demand for rum as one of the goods exchanged in the transatlantic slave trade.