Woven Chronicle

Reena Saini Kallat’s installation at Vancouver Art Gallery Offsite, shows the migration routes that connect people and commodities while contributing to cultural barriers.

Reena Saini Kallat, <i>Woven Chronicle</i>, Vancouver Art Gallery Offsite
At the Vancouver Art Gallery Offsite Mumbai-based artist Reena Saini Kallat traces human movement and cultural exchange around the world.
Woven Chronicle is comprised of an intricate web of handwoven electrical wires that entwine to resemble a chain-link fence. The strands create a map of the world overlaid with migration routes that connect people and commodities while simultaneously contributing to cultural barriers. The work references the active transfer of information and energy that results from the mobility and intersection of travelers, and is further accentuated by an ambient soundtrack that evokes the buzz and reverberations of telecommunications, industry and travel.
Reena Saini Kallat, <i>Woven Chronicle</i>, Vancouver Art Gallery Offsite
Reena Saini Kallat, Woven Chronicle, Vancouver Art Gallery Offsite

In the context of Vancouver’s changing urban and cultural landscapes, Woven Chronicle returns to the very origins of ethnic and cultural diversity. While Canada celebrates a myriad of ethnicities and cultures, issues of discrimination and inequality are still felt among immigrant and resident populations. The porous surface of Kallat’s map reveals proverbial holes in the naïve utopian idea of a unity through diversity, offering a contemplative sketch of the globalized world.

Woven by the artist and assistants from rural villages in India, the map implicates both the artist and the labour of migrant workers who travel to urban centres for economic survival – not only in India, but throughout the world. As a result, the work becomes a complex embroidery of human convergence and its accompanying narratives of connection and conflict.

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