Folded Language

  • Artist:

    Margaret Lanzetta

  • Location:

    New York, USA

Concept note

Directly referencing “material culture”, Folded Language examines the language of pattern-migration as manifested in contemporary saris. From a political perspective, the migration of pattern also acts as a metaphor for current economic/political migration in the Southeast Asian/Sub-continent region, blending the traditional, historical and contemporary. For centuries, India exported dazzling textile patterns and colors to the world. Today, textile production occurs in China, Bangladesh and numerous other regions, spurring economic and worker migration. Environmentally, synthetic materials replace traditional cottons; pattern influences now go 2-ways: sari patterns embrace “imported” cultural, sometimes political designs such as a yellow smiling “Happy Face”, Apple computer logos, or digitally-generated tessellations. Folded Language embraces historical and contemporary aspects of Kochi’s trade, colonialism and commerce in which pattern, as a force, is both exploited and celebrated. My paintings are created with cut-up and re-assembled mixed-fibre saris, “everyday” contemporary saris of average Indian women. Different sari patterns were isolated then stitched together to create new, large-scale paintings.This project engaged the Kochi community: local textile and sari merchants, tailors,