Narrative Thread: Gina Adams and Marie Watt

An exhibition is a significant site to investigate broken promises and untold stories, to unravel dominant narratives and to focus on historical injustices repeated and repeating. Gina Adams and Marie Watt sew together broken promises. In large textiles with pale applied letters and small stitches that create constellations of communal hand motions, their work holds narrative power, internal sources of energy, potential for reanimation, history, and memory of action.

Narrative Thread: Gina Adams and Marie Watt tugs on the string of interrelated stories with gestures of art making that enfold memory and words that call knowledge forward to another generation. The stories, sounds, and silences integrated into each stitch of the fiber-works in the exhibition are connected to a specific material history that combines women’s work with distinct elements of political resistance. These stitches are dangerous; they use their needles to pin stories of injustice, universal time, and myth making to the wall.


Narrative Thread illuminates the centrality of fiber to contemporary artistic practice while uncovering the social dynamics—including the roles of race and gender— that determine how such art has historically been defined and valued. As feminist artists, Adams and Watt are specifically interested in fiber for its explicit connection to craft and women’s work. They use it in ways to make visible, not only power relations facilitated by the hierarchy of the art/craft divide, but also to examine craft as cultural heritage, tradition, and memory. Their work offers consideration of the way asymmetrical power relations govern the production, reception, and circulation in the art world of craft-based practice. Looking at a continental history of Indigenous women’s textile production across a history of colonial conflict that includes women’s collective art-making and the connection between women’s material practices and storytelling, Adams and Watt reflect on their own roles as keepers of cultural knowledge and their use of communal women's textile work as a means of healing colonial trauma.