The winner of the Kate Derum Award for Small Tapestry, the Swedish artist Annika Ekdahl, translates the history of Vanitas painting into fibre. As well has homage to European art history, the slow process of tapestry weaving adds a new depth to the theme.
Here is her statement:
There is a genre in 16th and 17th painting, Vanitas as in “vanity”, with startling but oh so beautiful motifs. Still lifes with decomposing fruit, flowers, animals, insects and the obligatory skull. So interesting. In some, I can see curtains and draped table cloths. I imagine them with old golden fringes, slowly deteriorating.
It is all about death, I realise that. Transience.
For some years I have been engaged in a certain animal, appearing in old as well as in contemporary tapestry. I have followed deer through art history and reality all the way into my own studio. And the deer always dies.
This tapestry contains a parrot, a pheasant, a small hand reaching out for fruit, a rabbit and a deer captured in a net. These details are vague, I know. But I hope everybody apprehends that the doe looking at the skull, knows she is prey.
The Kate Derum Award for Small Tapestries honours Kate Derum and her significant contribution to tapestry as a weaver, teacher, mentor and former Deputy Director/Studio Manager of the ATW. Held every two years in conjunction with the Irene Davies Emerging Artist Award for Small Tapestries you can see the winners and finalists at the Australian Tapestry Workshop exhibition of finalists until 13 September 2019.
Like the article? Make it a conversation by leaving a comment below. If you believe in supporting a platform for culture-makers, consider becoming a subscriber.