Susie VIckery wafta twenty five + image

Techniques: Embroidery, applique
Materials: Fabric, thread, found objects
Dimensions (cms): H – 122, W – 76
Photographer: Susie Vickery

Grand Manner portraits of the 18th Century, such as those by Joshua Reynolds, showed the sitter full length, surrounded by visual metaphors for their power. In the late 19th Century, artists such as John Singer Sargent and Augustus John painted the ambitious middle classes in this style, sometimes called the Swagger Portrait.

Pride is a Grand Manner Swagger Portrait of the HIV activist Jonathan Blake. It is a palimpsest of both our lives containing symbols of his activism: the red ribbon of HIV awareness, the pink triangle (a reclamation of the homophobic Nazi symbol), the enamel badge of the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners Campaign for striking coalminers in 1980s Britain, and scissors, a reminder of Jonathan’s time as a tailor for English National Opera.

The layers of fabric appliqué are a collage of pieces collected over my lifetime, each taking me back to the time and place I acquired it. They include fabrics from my work and life in Myanmar and Mumbai with Burmese Chin and Indian men’s lungis and vintage sari borders.

The banner format references the cloth banners carried by the miners’ unions when they supported the Pride march in London in 1985.

Susie worked for many years as a theatrical costumier. After moving to South Asia she studied embroidery and worked with women’s handicraft and art projects. Her community engagement and development work is the inspiration for her story telling with embroidered animations, puppets, automata and textile pieces.

Wafta twentyFIVE + crossover
on-line catalogue

includes essay by Erin Coates, Wafta history, images and statements from artists on the 42 art-works exhibited

wafta exhibition catalogue