Embroidery from Beizar Aradini


As a refugee, woman, and person of color, I am committed to a feminism that is transnational, local, opens spaces for many voices, and provides critique of normative social formations.  My fiber artwork explores feminism beyond the Western borders while also implicating what normative feminisms and Kurdish ethnonationalism do in containing expansive politics, gender formations, and alternate ways of being. With delicate thread, I embroider images of womanhood and sisterhood in diasporic and displaced immigrant communities. Instead of presenting womanhood and sisterhood as monolithic categories, I stitch together how
difference operates within the Kurdish community and challenge equivalence within these categories. I try to present the complex tensions of belonging while creating space for those facing perpetual exclusion.

In the process, as Western and Global Feminism continues to stigmatize Middle Eastern men as dangerous and Middle Eastern women as always victims, my embroidery pushes for complex representations of Kurdish women as agentive persons in many capacities while operating within patriarchal dictates of the diaspora and the nation. I continue a process that comes from generations of women storytellers and survivors of oppression that
embodies the very best of the Feminist project of counter-storytelling as a way to challenge the dominant, normative representations of Kurdish communities, both from within and outside the community.

I transform the very cultural textiles that were once worn as protest and resistance and make them into my canvas through which to thread together the multiplicities, complexities of Kurdish women’s lives. As the refugee passage and resettlement rarely allow for the depth of lives to be carried across borders, my needlework inserts the stories of Kurdish women through their lives in Kurdistan, their lives in refugee camps, and their lives in the United States. Threading the needle is the first action in advocating for those that are usually forgotten and the stories untold.

Find Beizar Aradini on her website.
Follow her on Instagram @ beizar.


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