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Ghada Amer / Reading Between the Threads

2002-05-26 to 2002-10-13

Bildmuseet is pleased to present the artist Ghada Amer to the Swedish public for the first time. Her work is being shown here as a major, separate exhibition, and includes some 30 pieces of the artist’s work spanning the last decade: embroidered canvases, textile installations and sculptures. A new work has been specially produced for this exhibition.

Ghada Amer, born in 1963 in Cairo, trained at an art school in Paris and now lives and works in New York. Her work is a synthesis of both Western and Eastern traditions and she moves easily between different forms of expression. Amer’s work challenges gender-based stereotypes, dispels preconceived ideas, redefines high and low, art and handicraft, east and west, male and female. The symbols are taken from the female domains, reflecting on childhood, dreams, daily life, beauty and popular culture. Texts too have a central role in her artistry. From tales, myths and legends that depict common female experiences, she has selected texts which she has then embroidered on paintings and sculptures. These are tales that illustrate issues concerning cultural and sexual identity.

The combination of thread and paint has made Ghada Amer the focus of considerable attention in recent years. What appears at first to be a mass of abstract lines gradually comes into focus as painstakingly hand-embroidered paintings, sometimes appropriated from pornographic magazines. Amer’s art transfers the content of the pornographic picture to a visual representation of woman’s own satisfaction, a statement about female sexuality that can infuse strength rather than humiliate.

In 1999, Ghada Amer received the UNESCO award at the Venice Biennial.