Monday, November 03, 2014

Embroidery Exhibition Puts Fez On the Map

Artist Liz Kuneke with the embroidered map of Fez: one of five in the exhibition

A beautiful embroidery exhibition at The French Institute in Fez shows how residents feel about their cities 
Artist Liz Kueneke has created a display with a difference. In her exhibition The Urban Fabric: The Psychogeography of the Embroidered City (Le Tissus Urbain), she has engaged with local residents to craft maps with meaning. Between 2008 and 2010, she visited Fez (Morocco), Quito (Ecuador), Bangalore (India), Barcelona (Spain), and in New York City (USA). She set up in the street and asked passing locals to contribute to a hand-embroidered map of their city. More than 1,500 people did so.

Detail from the map of Fez

"They mark both positive and negative places by sewing symbols into the map," says Liz. To generate inspiration, she asks questions, such as "Where is the heart of the city?", "Where is a place that is positive for the community?", "Where is a place which needs changes?", "Where is an unsafe place?".  "Participants are also free to embroider personal images and words freely into the borders of the map."

The artist's intention was to provide an interactive experience for the inhabitants of each place, allowing them to reflect on their own use of urban space.

Liz Kuneke explains her ideas at the exhibition opening at the French Institute last Friday

"Each individual creates and carries his or her own image, but there seems to be considerable agreement among members of the same group," she says. These pictures by the group, showing a broad consensus, are of interest to planners who aspire to shape aspects of the built environment.

In Fez, Liz set up her embroidery frame with the outline of the map on it, at Bab Boujloud and at Cafe Clock. Over 10 days, 160 people participated - each adding a detail to what became their version of the city.

In addition to the five large embroidered maps, on the walls are photographs of some of the participants, and a supporting video showing the context of the project.

When: Le Tissus Urbain is showing until November 12.
Where: French Institute Gallery, 33 Rue Ahmed Loukili, Ville Nouvelle.
Cost: Free

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