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UNSPOKEN

2017

While taking a Fibre Sculpture class during my undergrad, I learned the basics of using fabric as a material for sculpture and learned techniques such as weaving, tapestry and embroidery. It was during this time in another class that I was doing some readings about incarcerated women who learned fibre arts as part of their tasks or paid jobs. Unfortunately, there weren't many options for women while in prison and it was something that they could learn and do while earning an income for themselves.

However, it was during this time that the women ended up being mistreated. The officers in positions of power sexually harassed and sexually assaulted many inmates. Those officers who were supposed to be overseeing the job site abused their power, used and exploited the victims to fulfill their sexual needs. In addition, there was a lot of physical abuse and drug use that was forced upon the victims by the perpetrators, including unwanted sexual advances from these officers.


The stories of what happened while in these prisons during that time are largely unknown. Thankfully, there were some women who were able to come forward years later and speak about their experiences while they were serving their time. Their spoken testimony is the text that is embroidered into the fabric that runs along and wraps around the tapestry frame in this piece. By observing this piece, partial truths are revealed while some text is hidden on the back side of the frame, representing the stories that are revealed and concealed. The ambiguity of the weaving at the bottom is covering or perhaps uncovering the testimonies of the former inmates. My intention is to represent the unspoken realities of the victims where the stories are present in the work that they do. 

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