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WORK by RAISA KABIR

Raisa is an interdisciplinary artist and weaver. She uses woven text/textiles, sound, video and performance to translate and visualise concepts concerning the politics of cloth, labour and embodied geographies.

 
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Build me a Loom off – Of your Back and your Stomach

Raisa’s (un)weaving performances comment on power, production, disability and the body as a living archive of collective trauma. Her works lead us to a recreated world of weaving through performances and narratives that often draw on fantasy while reflecting the physicality of the hard labour that goes into weaving. When performing the weaving actions, in ‘Build me a Loom off – Of your Back and your Stomach’ Raisa’s materials and concepts allude to displaced craft and labourers.

 
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Build Me a Loom: Footloom

 
 
Raisa Kabir 'The Body is a site of production... resist resist resist!' Tetley weaving per

The Body is a Site of Production – Resist, Resist, Resist! (2017)

 
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The Body is a Site of Production (2017)

In ‘Build Me a Loom: Footloom’ and ‘The Body is a Site of Production’, Raisa deploys an emerging language of textile practices: she joins and attaches threads while linking them to the human body and the labour of marginalised communities. While attached to the weaver’s body, the thread has a long journey passing through various material objects such as needles, hooks and the shed of a loom. Using the literal and metaphoric language of thread as one of expansion and growth, conflict and resistance, the works represent the lived challenges of weaving. These show fabric objects while marking the body as the site of production.

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The Art and Language of Weaving Resistance (2021)

The histories that are embodied in the textures of textiles evoke tales of decimation and South Asian border violence through the threadwork performance. Simultaneously, in the diaspora context, her works remind us of the potential multiple narratives waiting to be discovered within textile archives and heritage collections. 

 

'The Art and Language of Weaving Resistance' evokes borderlands and the resistance of textiles in sites of conflict. Her textile prints map the borderlands that define the partition of India  in 1947, and the creation of large diasporas in the UK. 


As a diaspora artist she is drawn to the communities who have built their lives working in the British textile industry in East Lancashire. In Rezia’s works, the language and techniques of textiles transgresses borders, representing shared culture and history.

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You and I are More Alike

Raisa’s textiles are intimately connected to the resistance of displaced peoples and the linkages made across movements, histories, imperialism and ongoing occupation resulting from colonial histories. ‘You and I are More Alike’ is an intimate weaving performance that maps the intensive labour of textile production while healing embodied trauma.

 
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Nil. Nargis. Blue. Bring in the tide

‘Nil. Nargis. Blue. Bring in the Tide with your Moon…’ uses footage from Raisa’s performance in Coulport on the Scottish coast where British nuclear submarine warheads are kept underwater. From the site, she recollects transgenerational trauma, weaving on a backstrap loom in the sea that symbolises a vast and unfathomable depth. As Raisa says, the sea loom ritual ‘acts as a salve to grief.’ Natural materials such as indigo, jute and linen connect the exploitative labour histories of Scotland, Bengal and the Caribbean.

 
 

The film weaves ideas of collective trauma, embodied geographies, occupied lands and resistance.

 

Raisa’s work responds to the textile geographies of labour between Kashmiri woven shawls, paisley pattern, Scotland, textile archives and South Asian diasporic migration and displacement.