Embroidering an interpretation of Bosch, 2002 -
A tapestry of Hieronymus Bosch embroidered on cotton, 2002 -
The peoples of Trinidad and Tobago where every creed finds their equal place
This work came from an intended show called Paradise. I ended up doing a group show with South African artist Lisa Brice and called that show Paradise instead. That doesn’t mean that I will change the name of this work though. I used handkerchief linen, and researched Bosch’s Garden of Delights until I knew the piece backward and forwards. It is still unfinished. There are hundreds of people in his version, and many artists like to interpret Bosch. In the time that I started the piece, I have seen many versions including a life sized photograph.
Bosch’s work mattered to me because I was doing a very involved floor piece to accompany the embroidery. The floor work was about the many types of prejudices that we encounter in Trinidad and Tobago. The private and not so private name calling of other groups. I spent time putting down lists of our racial groups and going over the sladering names. Then I drew my interpretation of these names.
I intended on having the show at the National Museum of Trinidad and Tobago, and measured the floor and found a carpet house that agreed to cut the carpet shapes for me.
The idea of black shapes on white carpet was the plan. I have the entire project worked out on paper, and went as far as cutting out a few shapes on foam. But that was as far as the work went because I could never get a firm gallery date, and didn’t want to invest in such a project when It was made specifically for that space. It is one of the challenges of working that way.
The embroidery piece was the contrasting work that would be seen in the smaller, more intimate annex space. I worked out a huge continuous spiralling knot of rope-like vines with every exotic flower of the island. The viewer would have to part the vines and the flowers and then come upon an astro turf floor that sloped to one corner of the room. You would then climb the slope and sit and look at the embroidery that would be finished as a very elegant table cloth at the top of the mound.
So what would happen is that the viewer would traverse the carpet space, literally walking on people and then walk into a low lit room (lighting spotlit on the table cloth) as a repose.
The embroidery has tons of detail, including working three dimensionally on the anatomical parts of some of the characters, adding hair and making the fruit dangle outside the frames of reference. I wanted a really decadent piece. Bosch has some portions of his work that look like the people are peeking through plastic, and I wanted to use some mylar and glass, in keeping with Indian embroidery. I have had alot of fun creating the embroidery. I even took it to China, but could not actually embroider on the flight because you are not allowed any sharp objects, scissors or needles. I did get to see some wonderful embroidery there, and took a picture, now lost of a very interesting piece in a temple. - Adele