February 6, 2021

Camel Pull-Toy Tapestry

Camel Pull-Toy Tapestry, 2020, hand-stitched cotton thread on monk cloth, 13"x12".


"Ain't gonna study war no more" - lyrics from an American gospel song

Camel Pull-Toy Tapestry is stitched in my faux weaving style and is directly influenced by War Rugs and by my continuing interest in woven textiles. It's based on my Camel Pull-Toy sculpture, which I created in 2005 in reaction to US warmongering in Afghanistan and Iraq. Those wars got me interested in Islamic art and culture as I observed the ubiquitous propaganda and demonization of Islam in the US during that time. Like the original version, this piece refers to themes of US Imperialism and hegemony-along with its allies - in the region of Southwest Asia. The tapestry's two - dimensional format enabled me to expand the narrative by filling in the background with fighter jets and bombs. 

I chose the dromedary camel as a shorthand signifier that makes an immediate connection to a specific geographic location, and not as any definition or judgment of a culture. The camel in the context of a child's pull-toy has political connotations that refer to Islamophobia and Western domination, pointing to its manipulator and to the hubris and terror of Empire's military might. 

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