Memories from the pandemic are stirred by the intimate scenes of Elycia SFA’s textile series, home life / still life, which captures ‘healing‘ spaces from the past two years in delicate, woven fibres.
‘This series began with references from my own apartment,’ explains the Toronto-based queer textile artist, whose practice encompasses craft and fine art. Starting on her floor loom, Elycia SFA weaves a textile canvas for her ‘thread drawings’, hand embroidering furniture, plants, tiles and architectural details into her woven surfaces using silk and cotton threads.
During 2021, SFA produced eight ‘thread drawings’ of her own home. But as the pandemic evolved, she put out a call for other folks in her community and beyond to share their ‘safe’ spaces during this period of collective isolation and grief.
‘The biggest surprise in the submissions was the level of intimacy shared in the images. I was very touched by the trust and openness with the subject matter – unmade beds and messy corners – it just felt very real and unfiltered,’ says SFA.
Two years in the making, the result is home life / still life: her first solo show at The Lost and Found gallery in Toronto, opening on 4 July, which presents ten new artworks created from photographs and information shared by anonymous participants across the globe.
‘It was really tricky to narrow it down to only ten images out of all the submissions I received,’ says SFA. ‘The technical aspect of what was “weavable” was the biggest factor, in terms of what actually can be articulated in thread. For example, lamp light really doesn’t translate unfortunately. Beyond that, I tried to have a variety of locations in the series, although most of them ended up being Toronto which makes sense as my community is here. The furthest submission came from my dear friend in Melbourne, Australia.’
Each work measures just 12.5” by 17”, encouraging the viewer to get up close to see their delicacy and details – and creating a private ‘confidence’ with the audience as a result.
‘It’s complicated to think about how this series, and the pandemic in general, might be viewed in the future,’ ruminates SFA. ‘Especially now when the pandemic has been declared “over” and it is still impacting so many people. I hope that one of the lasting impacts from this whole experience is the importance of community care.’
‘home life / still life’ runs 4-23 July 2023 at The Lost & Found, 420 Queen St East, Toronto ON M5A 1T4. The opening reception is from 6-9 pm on 4 July 2023 (drop-ins welcome).