These panels were embroidered by three groups of women situated in Burnley, Pendle and Karachi, Pakistan introduced by renowned textile artist, Alice Kettle, who has a long-standing relationship with the Ra’ana Liaquat Craftsmen’s Colony (RLCC) in Karachi where local women produce beautiful up-cycled products.
Alice began a project online with the women at RLCC during the pandemic when they met regularly to embroider together, creating images of home, belonging, and the connection between people and the land they inhabit. Alice is well aware of the significant South Asian diaspora in East Lancashire and introduced them to those in Karachi online in order for them to create something together that transcends borders and cultures.
Participants from Community Arts by ZK in Pendle and the Bangladesh Welfare Association in Burnley shared stories of home with their new friends in Karachi and, working with artist Rabia Sharif, stitched them into these beautiful images. The resulting panels paint a picture of shared experiences of family and the meaning of home, wherever that may be.
A third group working in Bristol through the charity Bridges for Communities who work closely with Arnolfini, has joined the project. The UK groups are completing the panels, filling in the blank sections to create a collective narrative. Online meetings and a WhatsApp group connect these women as they come together as one community, using stitch as a unifying force in a shared language of making.
Some completed panels were shown at the BTB and others were shown during the Threads exhibition at Arnolfini, which ran from 8 July to 1 October 2023.
Thankyou to all of these wonderful women stitchers.
With thanks to Rabia Sharif and all the contributors
Rumana Akthar Nipa
Karachi group (RLCC)
In partnership with RLCC Karachi, Behbud Association Karachi and Community Arts by ZK Brierfield and supported by Herbert Parkinson.
This project was co-commissioned with The Super Slow Way.
See here for information on venue accessibility and facilities.