A Common Thread: Curated by Ashanti McGee
The Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art and the Las Vegas Womxn of Color Arts Festival are proud to present A Common Thread, a group exhibition featuring textile art by nine womxn artists of color from Las Vegas and other communities across the United States. Drawing on traditions and perspectives from a variety of backgrounds, these artists are ensuring that the expanding field of textile arts includes progressive forms of personal expression, cultural critique, and community resilience.
“In the United States, textile work was originally a woman’s work during the mid 19th century and 20th century and in many places it still is,” says curator Ashanti McGee. “For women of color, it was particularly a common job. My own grandmother left segregated South Carolina and, despite several misfortunes, made a living—first through sewing and creating clothing like most, and eventually becoming a master embroiderer for the Lutheran Churches of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. My mother embroidered by hand, and taught myself and my daughter to sew.”
This “idea of lineage through textile” made an impact on McGee’s curation. She points out that during the pandemic she has noticed an increasing number of womxn who are picking up textiles to reconnect themselves to techniques they remember learning from their family members. It’s a way of paying homage to “the beauty that was considered common and domestic work.” At the same time, she reflects on the radical range of possibilities that textile art can cover. Once typified by the woven abstracts of Anni Albers (1889–1994), fine art textiles today roam ambitiously through forms of knitting, beading, embroidery, felting, crochet, fabric collage, stitching, and quilting. The artworks in A Common Thread range from Ailene Pasco’s compact sculptural vessels to Yacine Tilala Fall’s performance props and the expansive works of Desire Moheb-Zandi, whose day-glo “glitch” tapestries—inspired by the loom weaving of her grandmother in Turkey—embrace plastics, wire, tubing, paint, and rubber.
A Common Thread showcases the radical possibilities of traditional forms. The exhibition features work by Adriana Chavez, Ashley Hairston Doughty, Yacine Tilala Fall, Noelle Garcia, Isar King, Tiffany Lin, Desire Moheb-Zandi, Lyssa Park, and Ailene Pasco. The exhibition will also feature a poem by Southern Nevadan poet, Erica Vital-Lazare, and text written by Jocelyn Jackson, founder of JUSTUS Kitchen and co-founder of People’s Kitchen Collective.
A Common Thread runs from April 2 to July 24, 2021. Entry to the museum is free. Please see the Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art website to read our safety guidelines and make a timed reservation before you visit.
Support for this exhibition is provided by the WESTAF Regional Arts Resilience Fund, a relief grant developed in partnership with The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support arts organizations in the 13-state western region during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additional programs are funded in part with support from Nevada Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities.