Hidden Femininity


The collographs features in this post, based on ethnic garments, were part of a series created for my exhibition Hidden Femininity (Filef Centre 1996). They were developed during my collaboration Automatic Cross Stitch with poet Frances Presley, which looked at the rag trade in North London (N4) run mostly by Greek and Turkish owners.

I was interested in hidden women workers, working illegally in the garment industry in North London during the early nineties. I focused on those working in the factories in and around Finsbury Park mostly run by Turkish and Greek families. In order to gain access, I worked in one of the factories for a number of weeks cutting the loose threads off the finished garments.

I would often see women who couldn’t afford childcare bringing in their babies to work and hiding them from view in their work area. I observed one woman taking secret breaks to breastfeed her child. They were also instructed to disappear if the inspectors arrived.

The women I saw were mostly Indian and Eastern European who relied on the work for their survival and whose circumstances resulted in their exploitation.

The factories have disappeared from the area due to regeneration.

Details of the artworks:
available from irmairsara.bigcartel.com

Cintura (belt) 1996
Collograph using material (factory off-cuts), card with stitching, coloured tissue, rolled colour (oil).
One of three variations from the same card plate, so each one unique.

Print size: 12.5(H) x 30(W) cm
Paper size: 19(H) x 35(W) cm

Punto riso per una sposina (Rice Stitch for a Bride) 1996

One-colour embossed collograph (card plate) of a child’s knitted jumper.
AP1 Artist proof 1 of 2 variations / no edition

print size: 21(H) x 48(W) cm
paper size: 28.5(H) x 57(W) cm

Guanti per sposina (Gloves for a Bride) 1996

One-colour embossed collograph (card plate) using wedding gloves.
AP2 Artist proof 2 of 3 / no edition

print size: 31(H) x 22(W) cm
paper size: 44(H) x 27(W) cm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s