The Refugee I (2018.10)

Catalogue Record

Collection

Maker

Title

The Refugee I

Made in

Richmond

Date

2015

Description

A sculptural body piece weaved with paper rush, fabrics and bamboo thread. The work reflects the body forms when one is wrapped in thick cloth. It could be worn where you would see the wearer’s face through the narrow gap in the front of the woven piece.

The work was shown as part of Form + Motion, an exhibition presented by the British Council and the Crafts Council, at the UK Pavilion at the 10th Cheongju Craft Biennale in 2017.

Materials and techniques

Paper rush, patterned fabric and bamboo thread used.

Techniques of weaving and twining (2 active and 1 passive weaving elements) applied in the making.

40 pieces of 300cm long paper rush and 100cm by 3cm patterned fabrics were cut by the maker. She tided all strips together into a big knot and continued weaving on each side. The structure is formed when all sides joined. The maker then curved the top of the structure where the head of a wearer would be if being worn. Extra paper rush were woven to fill the gaps left from the first stage of weaving. The gaps left in the first weaving were filled by. The end of the paper rush was knotted with bamboo threads.

Dimensions

height:  80cm
width:  44cm
depth:  42cm

Object number

2018.10

Category

  • The Refugee I, Esna Su, 2015. Crafts Council Collection: 2018.10. Photo: Stokes Image Ltd.

  • The Refugee I, Esna Su, 2015. Crafts Council Collection: 2018.10. Photo: Stokes Image Ltd.

  • The Refugee I, Esna Su, 2015. Crafts Council Collection: 2018.10. Photo: Stokes Image Ltd.

  • The Refugee I, Esna Su, 2015. Crafts Council Collection: 2018.10. Photo: Stokes Image Ltd.

Maker's statement

This is one of [the] 5 pieces for my graduate collection 2015. It is one of the piece[s] that challenged all collection due to its form, structure as well as use of materials. The way it is structured and the way paper rush has [sic] disappeared on the back was completely different approach to my other designs.

The Refugee I collection is constructed and twined mainly with paper rush, representing the need for protection and expressing the isolation of refugees in their newly adopted homes. The works almost cover the wearer to give a warm, therapeutic feeling.

The technique was inspired from Syrian Carpet called in Arabic “hasir”. It involves constant weaving and adding layers in order to give curves and shift paper rush, representing the need for protection and expressing the isolation of refugees in their newly adopted homes.

This craftsmanship was not used anymore in north of Syria as many places [were] ruined by the war so I wanted to give a live to technique again by embracing isolated Syrian refugees. By giving deep sense to what was once used as a carpet then transformed into sculptural body pieces. The pieces became a nest to give a homely feeling for isolated Syrian refugees in sprawling refugee camps.

My work became a long journey from traditional making craft to contemporary body pieces. It was completed with a great passion, constant work and the expression of my life’s meaning.

Esna Su, 06 April 2018