Life Narratives

Year: 2017

Designer: Paula Gabriel

Materials: acrylic, gold leaf, spray paint,needle pointthread, paper, fabric

Life Narratives is an installation artwork for the
exhibition Fabric of Cultures: Systems in the
Making. My two starting points from the premise
of the Exhibition were: the T-shape as a cultural
construct and the expression of personal fashion.

Life Narratives is three paintings on paper stitched
onto fabric in the T-shape. My points of departure
for the paintings on paper were the outlines of maps
from four locations which relate to my life: Syria—where
my ancestors emigrated from in 1905 to the
United States; California—where I was born and
went to college; France—where I started my life
and career as an Artist; and Connecticut—where I
have been living for the last 27 years. I also brought
in references to the design and color of the Syrian
caftan dress into the paintings. The three paintings
on paper speak to these multiple views in line with
current conflicts using vibrant colors, expressive
gestures, mark-making and layering. The paintings
are stitched to a repetitive floral fabric suggestive of
Middle Eastern fabrics. The artwork is hung in such
a way as to unify the concepts of fashion and art.
Life Narratives embodies the navigation of my life
both as an immigrant descendent and as an artist.
The exhibition also includes an antique caftan dress
from Turkestan and a contemporary Persian caftan
dress, both gifts to me by my husband’s family.

-Paula Gabriel