Eyes with Thread, 2022
Mixed media and collage, 36 x 24 x 1 in
On display at the Downtown Eugene Public Library
Taghrid Alghadban is based in Eugene, Oregon. Born in Syria, she has been drawing since she can remember. She studied English literature at Damascus University and exhibited her first works at that time. She then proceeded to study graphic design and painting at Santa Monica College. Over the past 10 years, she has lived in Istanbul and Abu Dhabi, continuing to paint and experiment in the visual arts while also publishing a book of short stories and two works of translation. Her visual work employs the technique of collage and sgraffito while making use of acrylic, ink, pastel and various kinds of paper and traditional canvas. During the months of the pandemic, she has worked on a set of pieces whose central concern was the realities of unbridled capital.
I often think of the invisible connections that tie our memories to our senses and body parts, and how those memories weave themselves into our present and sometimes also into our future. During the process of making this painting I tried to trace memories of the Afghani women who sit for most of their days weaving a single rug that usually takes 6 months to be completed, and barely get paid enough to cover their basic living expenses. The memories of these women penetrate into their threads and come out as forms of wonderful designs and bright colors, carrying with them lots of bitterness, pain, fear, happiness and joy or even laughter. Sadly, most of these creative and hard working women have lost loved ones to wars or domestic violence, or to early death because the health system where they live is very poor and limited to the rich.
Syrian women who live in faraway villages and inherit the rug weaving career, or those who live in big cities like Damascus who sit behind looms for very long hours, face the same fate as the Afghani women. One of the fabrics they produce is tailored as pillow covers to be sold to tourists for high prices. I bought one of those pillows 15 years ago in Damascus, where I lived for most of my life.
A couple of months ago my eyes fell on this pillow and I saw how I could incorporate the memories of my beloved pillow into my paintings. I cut the pillow cover into pieces and slithered some threads out of it to weave them into my art work so they could mingle with my own memory threads. I think what I am doing is a symbolic gesture to show my gratitude to those invisible women who work hard in the background to produce pieces of art that we enjoy. Most of the time, we do not remember the hands or the eyes or the memories that are hidden in them.
For more information email Taghrid Alghadban