Tag: controversy

The Weight of Water

The Weight of Water, mixed media textiles, by Mary Vaneecke

The Weight of Water  by Mary Vaneecke, 20” x 20” by 12”

Artist Statement

When I attended a photo shoot for  The Migrant Quilt Project I was struck by the fabric slings for water bottles that Jody Ipsen brought from campsites along the border.  Jody is the founder of the MQP.  Crossers or their loved ones or immigrants rights groups make these slings hastily. They sometimes include encouraging messages like bueno suerte (good luck) or contigo en la distancia (with you on your journey).  It hit me how these migrants had to carry enough water with them to survive their journey.  They had to decide what to carry with them across the border, and what to leave behind on their way to a new life.

The items left at campsites or layups tell of a journey fraught with peril and loss.  Jody allowed me to photocopy pages from a book for prayers to Santa Muerte, or Saint Death.  Santa Muerte is important because she can protect crossers from violent death.  Jody also shared copies from a small notebook filled with handwritten poetry or Verzos.  (One of those poems is for Mother on Mother’s Day.)  Ten dollars worth of pesos secreted into hand-stitched hems is another frequent find.  Migrants often carry milagros or votives with them.  Empty gallon jugs and carpet shoes, which mask footprints when worn over street shoes, are common in layup sites along the border.

My version of these slings include headlines from American newspapers about the official policies dealing with migrants, as well as reproductions from prayer and poetry books found on the border.

Materials

Found objects (water bottles and carpet shoes), deconstructed American flag and denim jeans, vintage mola (maker unknown), milagros, woven textiles from South and Central America (makers unknown), silk organza, cotton, vintage Mexican flag collectible, Virgin de Guadelupe fabric, facsimiles of found objects, fusible web.

Techniques

Machine and hand stitch, image transfer, fusing, applique.

No Censorship at THIS Quilt Show!

The Tucson Quilters Guild Quilt Fiesta! 2017 is all over, but this one was even more interesting that usual for me. One of the show co-chairs confided in me that my entry Abuela Reads the Headlines caused some controversy at the quilt show.  Apparently at least two people asked that it be removed from the show show.  Here is a pic of the piece:

quilt by Mary Vaneecke
Abuela Reads the Headlines, 55” x 84”

I believe the controversial part is the 2015 headlines from mainstream media that appear on the quilt.  They are:

U.S. looks to detain more mother, child migrants, sometimes for months

 

Judge blasts ICE, says immigrant children, parents in detention centers should be released

 

Border detention of children shames America

And, what is for me, the kicker:

Cribs replace bunks at new immigrant detention center

But my quilt was not the only one to cause a stir.  My friend Sandy Lambert had an incredible piece called ‘Lest We Forget.’  It is entirely hand quilted and embroidered with quotations by Republican presidential candidates, along with tombstones with the various dates of their campaigns’ demise.

quilt by Sandy Lambert
Lest We Forget, by Sandy Lambert.

 

Lest We Forget, by Sandy Lambert, detail.

 

Lest We Forget, by Sandy Lambert, detail

Several people confronted the show co-chair, Reilly Zoda and asked (perhaps demanded?) that the quilts be removed from the show due to their political content.  She said that there was a Quilt of Valor at the show (and that was a political quilt), and a patriotic Baltimore Album quilt, and that was political, and if the show was going to censor political quilts, they would have to take them all down.  What a brilliant response.

I am so proud that the show chairs refused to remove the ‘offending’ quilts.   They were courageous in refusing to censor free expression at the show.  We all know women have long expressed their hopes, dreams, and political beliefs in quilts, and the Tucson Quilters’ Guild honored that part of our tradition this weekend.  The actions of the TQG stand in stark contrast the actions of the AQS over a quilt by Kathy Nida.  (If you are unfamiliar with the case, google it, or click here, here, and here.)

Our foremothers would be proud!

I am holding my breath, however.  I fear that this will be a hot topic at the next board meeting, and there may be a new policy in place for next year….  I will keep you posted.

I know from experience that the guild will hear 10 negative comments for each positive one.  If you agree with their decision to allow ‘political’ quilts in the show, please let them know!