Textile Installation - Solidarity Sky
The textile installation 'Solidarity Sky' was commissioned for the ‘Open Sites’ outdoor art exhibition in Ypres, Belgium during September and October 2022. The work consists of hundreds of images of the sky, submitted to the project by people in over 80 different countries in the two years prior to the exhibition.
Solidarity Sky initially began in 2020 as a virtual community driven artwork with the aim of bringing people together during the various COVID-19 lockdowns through sharing personal images of the sky. People of all ages were invited to become the artists in this project, contributing their own ‘piece of sky’ that joined a larger ‘virtual sky’ made up of hundreds of photographs from across the world. During the project, over 1200 individual photographs from 80 different countries around the world were submitted. It is these images that formed the basis for the installation in Ypres, Belgium.
In developing Solidarity Sky, the artists were inspired by a quote from Anne Frank's diary in which she describes how she looked at the sky from her attic window and was hopeful about the future despite her circumstances: “I looked out the open window...over all the roofs to the horizon, which was so pale blue that the dividing line was not clearly visible. As long as this exists, I thought, and I may experience it, this sunshine, that sky where there is no cloud, as long as this exists I cannot be sad.”
The context of this work is especially relevant for the city of Ypres, a location with a rich history of textile industries as well as a location containing many cemeteries, memorials and war museums that honor the battles that unfolded in this area during World War I.
With the installation, the public audience is invited to take a seat under the work and look up at the sky. By looking through the different pieces of textile to the actual sky above, the work merges with its surroundings encouraging an ever-changing experience with the work and the environment itself. Ultimately, the aim of the textile installation in this context was to provide a meditative experience, promote solidarity and confidence in the future.