Immigration and identity are explored in cloth lengths and stitched text on silk organza by textile artist Jenny Bain in her exhibition Connecting a Common Thread, on from the 27th of April at te tuhi - the mark in Manukau City. The exhibition by the Dunedin-based artist is her personal response to issues surrounding the arrival of people in this country, recalling that of her own family, who arrived in Dunedin from Scotland in the early 1900s.
Stitching and sewing were a necessary skill that every female immigrant had to be proficient at to outfit their families and homes. Repairing and making do were a necessity. Jenny Bain recalls this essential part of female history by working in with textiles, and in small and meticulous stitching. Connecting a Common Thread blurs the lines between installation and traditional needlework.
Bridie Lonie, in her essay Veiled Lands: textile histories from the catalogue that accompanies the exhibition, states that in Jenny Bain’s work ‘Threaded grids mark the long journeys of sea travel with calendars that notch each day with secret writing. Like family quilts they know stories they do not tell. Isolation and separation lie behind the formal languages of proverb and psalm.’
→ Jenny Bain: Connecting a Common Thread, 2002, publication
→ Jenny Bain: Connecting a Common Thread, 2002, exhibition card