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This print collection is one of co-cultural artefacts with a storytelling narrative, each scarf an archival and emotional piece of artwork based on the close relationship between myself as artist, and Babushka.


Co-Designed in person, together with the Babushkas and featuring motifs from their traditional embroideries.


The extensive design process began with personal research in 2016 and discovering, collecting and photographing the historic textile work of the women still living in the exclusion zone, Chernobyl, Ukraine. We bonded and became close through many visits, stitching together and talking about our shared love of embroidery and their textile history.


Embroideries were generously shared or donated, others found in homes evacuated and abandoned since 1986. All the women want their, ‘work to live on when…[they] have gone’.


Collective Babushka's [Erased]

This scarf is a collaboration with a number of the women, including Dana, Ghana, Ghanna, Hana, Halyna, Maria I, Maria P, Marusya, Matryona, Olga, Valentina B. and Valentina I. They have given their motifs and embroidery images to be combined as one pattern, joining all their villages across the Chernobyl exclusion zone, as one as it were. So, a collective, contemporary and colourful design – a living archive of the Babushkas who remain in the zone and a memorial to those who we have lost.


This considered design has many layers, some motifs are only part-drawn, some are erased, yet more is partially deleted, colour lifted or faded out, referencing the obsolescence of this community.


The self-settlers are a unique phenomenon - the last of their people. In 1987 1,400 people were allowed to return to their homes in the zone, in 2017 they numbered 145, today in 2022 that number is around 70. Six of the twelve women who I have worked with and got to know, have very sadly died in the last few years. It is estimated almost all will be gone in the next 10 years. I am desperate to return to them as soon as possible, the pandemic and now the Russian invasion has disrupted, but not killed our relationships. It is purely heart-breaking that our time is running out.


Babushka's [Erased] - Storytelling Scarf

  • Scarf Size: 60cm x 60cm [approx.]

    Box Size: 16cm x 16cm x 4cm [with drawer & tassel pull]

    Material: 100% silk [washable at 30°, light iron]

    • Hand-rolled edges [high quality]
    • Digital print with...
    • Redacted screen-print [the negative evidence] critically underlines the impending disappearance of this community and gives a depth to the piece
    • Each scarf unique due to the variables of the hand screen printing process
    • Launching at Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, November 2022 [together with film of the artist]

    Participatory action research (PAR), ‘values and uses the ‘lived experience of people’ as a way of democratizing inquiry and in some cases empowering marginalized groups’ (Reason cited in Gray and Malin, 2004, p.75).

    50% of profit from this artefact will be donated to the Babushka’s of Chernobyl.


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