Saturday, Aug 26 – Oct 22, 2023

2320 W. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622

In THREADS art and poetry respond to each other and intertwine. The textile artists in this exhibition created new works of art based on selected poems by Ukrainian and English language poets. But the true language of the exhibit is the art the poetry inspired. The artists come from diverse backgrounds such as Ukraine, U.S., Colombia and the Philippines, their work connected through their use of fiber and textile techniques that give the poetry volume in space.

THREADS was conceived by Virlana Tkacz and Olena Jennings. They chose poems they thought would be inspiring from work by Yara Arts Group and Poets of Queens. They presented their idea to textile artists they knew and the artists in turn suggested other artists. Ged Merino organized the first exhibitions at his Bliss on Bliss Art Projects and Flux Factory in Queens, NY that included outdoor readings, as well as in Bogota Columbia at Maleza Proyectos curated by Alejandra Fonseca, with involvement of local artists. He introduced the project to Carlos Quijon, Jr. who curated the show in Manila, Philippines at Drawing Room Contemporary Art.

Originally limited because of the pandemic, contact between the poets and artists has flourished now. Isabella Lopez connected with Pichchenda Bao. Isabella’s piece “Monumento a una pérdida” shows a family. The weft is removed in one section to portray a missing father, a father whose stories are relayed in Pichchenda’s poem. Ged Merino connected with Sherese Francis. Sherese eventually responded to his piece “Self Portrait en Desplazamiento” with another poem. In this way, the poets continue their connection to the artists and exhibit. There are layers of connection and dialogue. Aze Ong created a piece “Boundaries” based on Wanda’s poem “Womb Dreams.” Then, she went on to create a performance piece in which she interacted with her own artwork to the sound of Wanda reading her poem. Waldemart Klyuzko uses traditional weaving techniques with nontraditional materials such as police hazard tape. He uses his woven pieces to cover the balcony of his own apartment in Kyiv and makes a coat out of it. Serhiy Zhadan’s poem “How Did We Build Our Homes?” inspires Waldemart’s art pieces. Waldemart even writes out the English translation of the Zhadan poem on the hazard tape and films it for his installation. His art is part of his “Home East” projects responding to the Russian war on Ukraine.

THREADS brings together textiles and text to reveal their individual texture and unique materiality. The poems are part of the exhibit and are presented in different ways, from text on the wall to readings and performances on video.

Learn more here.
Featured in Ukrainian Weekly here.