‘2 Minus 2’ Feet
by Amita Makan
The three hand embroidered works and a soft sculpture of traditional Indian sandals is a textile archive of grief, unfulfilled desires and mortality.
‘Pointure’ in French refers to the size of a shoe.
My late mother and I had the same size feet. We wore the same shoe size - a five.
The simple stitching repeated all through the works forms part of my Indian ancestral memory. My paternal great grandfather and grandfather were cobblers by profession. The women of Gujarat are celebrated for their embroidery.
White, the underlying colour of the series, is associated with life, love, death and mourning in Hindu culture.
A dialogue between the two pairs of sandals belonging to my late mother, my own sandals, and my feet is opened as a personal narrative. The relationship and ‘non-relationship’ between my mother and I is told through my feet in my sandals and her absent feet in her vacant sandals.
'My Feet I' Hand embroidered with silk thread on silk 'My Mother's Sandals' Hand embroidered with silk thread on Indian cotton
The series is a reflection on our interrupted journey, on her passing, my mortality, and the transience of life. Our feet were once able to fit into each other’s sandals, and, now, the emptiness of the sandals is interchangeable.
Prepared for the Pointure exhibition on at the University of Johannesburg Gallery, Auckland Park, 9 – 29 August 2012
Photographs: Rupert de Beer