African Violet

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Dafna Avidan
Part of a larger body of work titled “African Violet,” Dafna Avidan presents selected “entities,” assorted pieces sewn by hand from eclectic fabrics, mostly from Japan and Africa. The “entities” – each a unique multicultural hybrid – hover slightly above the ground to present both modern and traditional prints along with African motifs, some painted by hand. On show are additional objects made of leftover cloth – healing hands, fish, a turtle, a lizard, corals, and various mythical creatures swept away in waters – or in the stream of consciousness. Having lived in Japan for the past 15 years, Avidan’s body of work is marked by a Japanese influence, in particular by the folk tradition of boro textiles developed among peasants in the north.
Due to harsh weather conditions, cotton could not be cultivated, and locals would patch and sew together massive sheets from hemp and cotton leftovers. The boro textiles were mended and patched together many times over, with the sheets being passed on from generation to generation as something of a multi-purpose second skin – among others, as the textile that welcomed newborns during labor, giving them the blessing of former generations. Avidan is also inspired by the belief in the presence of spirits in the world of the living, ascribing the origin of her “entities” to a stream of images that came to her from places near and far: “From the waters of the Mediterranean, which has absorbed those who did not succeed in their journey of refuge from Africa to Europe, and from the ocean that has engulfed the souls lost in the Tsunami.” Her entities attempt to bring solace and comfort, to heal and alleviate.

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