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Sculpture: Fabric, Paint, Acrylic, Textile on Soft (Yarn, Cotton, Fabric).
Ms Salto is part of a series of nine cloth figures each taking their name from a Uruguayan region or city. Like beauty pageant contestants at the yearly Afro-Uruguyan carnival celebrations the cloth figures represent the enduring impact of the African diaspora. Combining the decorative, spiritual and ritualistic, African art has for western artists such as Picasso and Matisse provided much inspiration. As someone who identifies with Afro-Uruguayan culture, living far from her ‘homeland’ my art practice becomes a way to engage with my identity and culture. Living in Australia on contested land and the experience of migration adds further complexity to one’s sense of place and belonging.
Utilising textile materials and techniques such as crochet, stitch, beading and painting, firmly positions the work within a tradition of the handmade, craft and folk art. Beyond it’s decorative and totemic countenance, the cloth figures attempt to give expression to those ideas and emotions tied to my experience of belonging and not belonging. What is my spiritual heritage and connection to an Africa I have never visited? It is in this ambiguous space that I want to situate my work; to imagine, generate dialogue and raise questions about the uneasy mixtures of culture, race, gender, authenticity and the decorative.