City of Heritage II

City of Heritage II is the continuation of City of Heritage.

The City of Heritage series is a representation of my cultural mix in a high technology society in Singapore with my Austrian roots.

The material used in the City of Heritage serial carries important significance. The raw flax fabric where the embroidery is applied is inherited from my great-grandmother who was a farmer in the Tyrolian mountain village Wildschönau. In summer they cultivated linum, harvest it on the cliffs grassland and produced flax fibers. This was all completed by hand, by women who did this in addition to their daily chores. My grandma would tell me that in the cold snowy winter months her mum used to spin the fibers into a yarn, while regaling her with old stories. When my grandmother got married she inherited a lot of yarn from her mum who brought it to a weaving mill to get some fabric. In the olden days, they used this kind of fabric for bed sheets, but the hand produced yarn contains a lot of hard fibers and is not comfortable to sleep on. Laughing to us, my grandmother would always say, “you have to wash them at least a 100 times to get rid of the stems and itchy parts.” My grandmother never used these fabrics and when she knew that she will be gone soon, she passed the fabrics to me. “The fabrics are too rough to use and too valuable to throw away” she said. Since then, I have carried these sentimental and significant fabrics with me across the globe from Europe to Singapore.

In Singapore, far away from my family and my home country, I re-evaluated my own cultural heritage. I came across totally new ideas and impressions as well as familiar cultures. For example: seed beads, which are historically significant in Europe, but now can only be found in museums, mostly in the context with the trading routes of the Roman Empire.

In Singapore seed beads are present in the early history of Peranakan culture, where the colorful beads adorn everything from bags to shoes to tapestries. The beads came mostly from Europe (Venice and Czech beads) and nowadays they come from Japan or China.

I love to see the influences cultures have with one another and how materials are used differently in various contexts. This was the catalyst for me to become re-influenced with this material to create something new.