The Textile Museum of Canada’s (TMC) newest exhibit, titled Eutopia, will be on display beginning today until May 29, and feature textiles from the Museum’s international collections alongside the work of contemporary Canadian artists Christi Belcourt, Coco Guzman, Happy Sleepy (Marc Ngui and Magda Wojtyra), Radiodress, Nep Sidhu and Christina Zeidler, with selections from Daisuke Takeya’s Field Trip Project. Exploring the powerful association of fibre arts and grassroots activism, Eutopia – which refers, literally, to a “good place” eminently attainable in the real world, as opposed to utopia, an impossible ideal – is accompanied by a dynamic public program.
Responding to complex social issues in the 21st century such as gender identity, cultural politics, and environmental stewardship, the artists in the exhibition ask visitors to consider multiple perspectives, acknowledging diverse and varied, sometimes conflicting points of view that make up the Canadian social fabric. Integrated with these contemporary works, stellar examples of global textiles from the TMC’s collection similarly represent efforts to change social conditions – from graphic African textiles engaged in public education about malaria transmission and AIDS prevention, to elaborate embroideries from India that address violence against women and economic poverty.
“How textiles make meaning – their function in everyday life – has made them unique vehicles for political, cultural and economic commentary for centuries,” says Shauna McCabe, Executive Director of the Textile Museum of Canada, “This exhibition underscores how they open up dialogue in a way that other media cannot, highlighting a trajectory of historical artifacts and contemporary art practices engaged in social commentary.”
Eutopia is guest curated by Farah Yusuf with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts’ Grants to Culturally Diverse Curators for Residencies in the Visual Arts.
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Christi Belcourt, So Much Depends Upon Who Holds the Shovel, 2008, acrylic on canvas, 125 x 248 cm. Collection of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada