Lucy Orta Traces: Stories of Migration will offer an insight into the diversity of first and second-generation migration histories woven into the landscape of east London.
Led by international artist and researcher Lucy Orta, in partnership with London College of Fashion’s Making for Change as part of The Portal Centre for Social Impact, the participants of the Traces: Stories of Migration workshops came together to share textile knowledge, follow the threads of community migration in the context of the East End rag trade, and celebrate east London’s history of clothing and textile industry. As the culmination of a 2-year project involving over 80 residents across Newham and Tower Hamlets, the installation is collective tapestry of lived experiences.
The walls of the Nunnery Gallery will reveal two distinct artistic responses that celebrate the collaboration. A ‘Portrait Gallery’ by Lucy Orta: a frieze of canvases depicting the makers involved in the workshops recall motifs from their migration stories. ‘Story Cloths’ by each maker depict their physical or metaphorical journeys using a range of dexterous textile craft techniques.
On display will also be exerpts from Needle Around Her Neck (Fair Acre Press), a collection of poems penned by author and Royal Literary Fellow Nathalie Abi-Ezzi, who accompanied the project. A film produced by AKO Storytelling Institute that follows the journey of the Story Cloths will debut at the exhibition.
An inspiring programme of events will include workshops on upcycling, Kantha embroidery techniques, natural dyeing with petals and oral history led by Traces: Stories of Migration participants. The programme gives attendees the chance to experience and appreciate the deep connections between heritages, migration, and climate justice as part of sustainable practice.
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