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Survivalist Sampler #2

2020-21, cotton on repurposed linen, dimensions variable
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Sera Waters | Artist
Photograph Grant Hancock

Survivalist Sampler #2 is the second in an ongoing series which reawakens the needlework tradition of ‘sampling’ as a tradition passed along for generations to preserve patterns, skills and knowledge. Survivalist Samplers are feminist and activist driven artworks which adapt embroidery methods to suit impending survival needs in an uncertain future. While the initial Survivalist Sampler grew in response to climate disasters, culminating in Australia’s largest bushfires of 2019-2020, Survivalist Sampler #2 began on March 19 2020 as the pandemic took hold. Survivalist Samplers respond to a potential of infrastructural and digital data breakdown, and the wonder that historic samplers, some of which survive from as long ago as the fourteenth or fifteenth century, outlast their makers by hundreds of years to preserve insights from individual lives otherwise lost to time.  My samplers record rapidly unfolding events, document information about how to adapt physically and psychologically, and read as an aesthetic cacophony to mirror the masses of information currently experienced daily. Most importantly Survivalist Samplers aim to fulfill the role samplers played traditionally, of being a database of basic stitch techniques and fundamental skills required for making, mending and working with cloth; skills essential for survival.


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