Tanja Boukal: Knitting and Embroidery Gone Rogue

Date:25. May – 24. Aug 2019
Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts, Melbourne, United States of America

The Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts at Florida Tech presents over seventy-five embroideries and stitched works by Austrian artist and activist Tanja Boukal Boukal’s art examines socio-political themes, often exposing the challenges of marginalized people in the midst of difficult situations. 

The artist states, “My starting point is the human dignity. I often place extraordinary people at the center of my works. I do not want to depict them as individual characters, but rather as representatives of people, who are willing to walk long distances to achieve their goals. I give ‘curtain calls’ to people who usually stay out of sight.”

 In the Unfinished Series, Boukal examines the development of the Egyptian revolution. Beginning with the “Day of Revolt” on January 25, 2011, this revolution represents one of the most important movements of the “Arabic spring.” The work is centered on the role of women in Egypt’s revolution. Through handcrafted and vivid embroideries on canvas, the artist explores women’s rights, sexual violence, and the public space. Boukal transcribes the photographic originals using a technique based on the satin stitch technique. By visually highlighting particular women, she emphasizes their important role in Egypt’s progress toward a democracy – a process which is far from over.

In addition, the Center will feature several works from the Those in Darkness Drop from Sight Series.  These compositions - crafted through the intricate technique of illusion or “shadow” knitting - feature notorious women from around the world who play an active role in armed conflicts. The artist examines their representations in society as fighters, heroes, victims and villains.