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About Natasha Duwin

Cuntal Images, Objects, Spaces

Chance and humble materials conspire to re-create and express some of the building blocks of our personal and collective lives: flesh and memory, self and identity, word and image, and the ideas of female-ness and womanhood.

In particular, I explore the construction of the female identity, and the interactions between the historical baggage that continues to be handed down to girls everywhere, the influence of the social, cultural and economic revolutions of the twentieth century, and women’s own stories and journeys.

I am also keenly interested in skin, as metaphor, and document, of personal conditions and situations that we navigate through, ever since that first transition into atmosphere. It is the barrier, and bridge, between self and the other, between private  and public, between flesh and memory. It is a supple, pliant, flexible casing, impermeable and resistant, yet prone to damage. It bears the literal traces of our journey, and marks the relationship between memory and identity, the impact of place on our spirit, and the essence of our very selves.

•  •  •  •  •

Weaving, embroidery, needlework, tapestry, quilting, lace, textiles in general, paper work, and traditional women’s work, have long been relegated to the worlds of labor and craft, and they are usually described as weak, ineffectual, feminized mediums.

I use all of the above-mentioned mediums to produce representations of the essence of women: strong, fragile, forceful, pliant, rigid, aggressive, inviting… in a word, cuntal. My pieces are constructed from metals and metallic mesh, natural fibers, paper, wood, feathers, twigs and branches, which are distressed, layered and painstakingly woven, sewn, and  embroidered together.

These pieces resonate with themes and ideas that have preoccupied women since the dawn of time: the connection between memory and identity, the effect of place on the spirit, the essence of self, the role of family and community in creating a persona, and the dichotomies of body and soul, emotion and intellect, self and the other.

There is also an attempt to capture particular characters and situations of my past that are fundamentally un-graspable. The desire to freeze a moment in time, to suspend and categorize my personal conditions and circumstances in a piece, is ultimately doomed to failure. Yet it is not a futile exercise. The pieces that result from this struggle express, ever so faintly, universal conditions and situations that resonate in the collective life, memory and folklore of humans, and particularly women, since the dawn of time.

Natasha Duwin