Image by Ashley Röttjers.
22 February 2023
AMSTERDAM – The term body of work refers to a collection – a set of moving parts that complement and fit together in such a way that they tell the story of an overarching research process. Bodies of Work is the title of the second phase of the exhibition Knowing Cotton Otherwise at the Fashion for Good Museum.
Traceability, end-of-use, origins and more
The first phase of Knowing Cotton Otherwise covered many different topics including conversations about end-of-use, traceability, origins and more were initiated – if only for a moment. Bodies of Work attempts to confront the issues surrounding the cotton industry, delving into the rich story of the body as a carrier of cotton’s problematic history.
Curatorial team by Ashley Röttjers©
The exhibition was created in collaboration with various artists, initiatives and experts. Some highlights:
Artist Tricia Mokosi, was asked to create 4 looks from found materials of Cotton, sourced from second-hand shops in Amsterdam. The outfits are composed of old opera costumes, crocheted items in combination with trainers, among others. During the opening, the looks came to life where they were worn during a series of dance performances.
Tricia Nganga Mokosi by Ashley Röttjers©
Sha’Mira Covington is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Textiles, Merchandising & Interiors and the Institute for Afro-American Studies at the University of Georgia. Her work for Knowing Cotton Otherwise explores the history of cotton, the fashion industrial complex, and the idea of cultural sustainability. From her own research, she has brought together objects to highlight how cotton plays a role in different cultures. Through both historical objects and contemporary objects, she aims to invite visitors to pause and ask questions about the role of cotton in their own lives, non-Western history and, in particular, the history of the black diaspora. For example, the installation displays a charm from a private collection in the form of a cotton bale (filled with real cotton) that served as a protective amulet in the spiritual culture of black diaspora in the US – alluding to the spiritually healing qualities of cotton in hoodoo culture.
The exhibition also looks to the future with an installation from material science innovator Natural Fiber Welding. The threaded sculpture showcases an alternative to traditional cotton production and symbolises their CLARUS® technology, where the science of ‘welding’ is applied to strengthening thousands of individual fibres into strong, high performance, natural yarn. The installation also symbolises the many hands that touch cotton and the multitude of stories that stem from one plant.
Natural Fiber Welding by Ashley Röttjers©
Buzigahill is an impact-driven clothing brand with a mission to make Uganda’s textile industry flourish again as it did in the early 1970s. Local fashion has been replaced by imports of second-hand clothing and cheap, synthetic imitations from the global North. Ugandan design and production cannot compete with the low prices and diversity offered by second-hand clothing – which threaten the local economy and the environment. Return to Sender is Buzigahill’s first series. Here, they focus on redesigning second-hand clothes and redistributing them to the global North, where the clothes were originally discarded before being shipped to Uganda.
Expo photography by Elzo Bonam©
Knowing Cotton Otherwise is open to the public from 17 February 2023 until October 2023 in the Fashion for Good Museum at Rokin 102 in Amsterdam.