Hana Baraka

"Veiled Threads, Unveiled Stories - Siwan Women’s Impact on Landscape and Culture"

Section MS10, Freya Spencer-Wood

Keywords: identity, feminism, performance, landscape, set design

In 2004 an article was published by the BBC titled ‘Oasis women fashion their own freedom’. It discussed the slow evolution/“peaceful revolution” of women in Siwa, as they expanded their symbolic embroidery inspired by the Siwan landscape and its colours. Siwan women have very little contact with the outside world, and they must be covered from head to toe when exiting their home, however their embroidered symbols have now been on show in bigger cities like Milan as a result of the Infitah Act. VTUS looks at these symbols embroidered by Siwan women, exaggerates them and puts them back into a staged landscape. Taking inspiration from the women’s craft of embroidery and basket weaving, Veiled Threads, Unveiled Stories aims to cast a light on the beauty of these women’s work, whilst still keeping them in the shadows and respecting old Siwan traditions and customs. This particular symbol is the broom/makasha which is generally embroidered on articles of clothing, believed to ward off the evil eye and have protective qualities.

Number of hours to form a symbol: 34.9 Number of stitches to form a symbol: 2,099 Number of people involved: 1 woman