Ghorzah (Stitch) by Natalie Fisher

14 Jan, 2018

By Islamic Arts Festival

Hand-stitched tapestries inspired by Moroccan art and architecture

Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, member of the Supreme Council and ruler of Sharjah, the Cultural Affairs Department at the Sharjah Department of Culture has organised the 20th Edition of the Sharjah Islamic Arts Festival.

The solo exhibition 'Ghorzeh' (Stich), on view at the Sharjah Art Museum, presents original hand-stitched tapestries by Natalie Fisher. 2D and 3D tapestry, an original design that takes weeks or months to produce and contain tens of thousands of individual stitches. A vibrant, original artwork is technically accomplished, and contemporary in design.

Fisher finds her inspiration in Moroccan art and architecture. She draws from two ancient techniques of Moroccan mosaic tile making ('zellige'), and hand-stitched needlepoint. The artist explained that the presented series took her five years to create. She uses calligraphic and geometric zellige designs thus inviting the viewer to contemplate on how ancient tiles can be represented in wool. Seeing the works from the distance they seem to be paintings, only upon closer look one can see that they are actually tapestries. The artist uses technique of applying wool to a needlepoint canvas similar to an artist applying paint to an art canvas.

Recently the artist started experimenting with size and functionality. In the middle of the exhibition space is the three-dimensional star, hand stitched with much thicker wool. Natalie Fisher also exhibited a large scale installation where she experimented with hand-stitching on a metal frame. She attached a huge needle in front of the work. This installation, in a way, is an indication that the artist may extend her work in another direction, to use tapestry as an art installation in order to create interaction in a space between different shapes. It remains to be seen in which direction the artist will continue her work. 

Natalie Fisher (Artweave Originals) is a tapestry/needlepoint artist based in Sydney, Australia. Her work challenges widely-held traditional perceptions of tapestry as quaint, domestic and conservative. She creates artworks that present the medium in a new, contemporary and bold light. She has a degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of New South Wales and she is a designer for Ehrman Tapestry, London, one of the most successful international needlepoint companies worldwide.

The exhibition 'Ghorzah' is on view until January 23, 2018 at the Sharjah Art Museum as part of Sharjah Islamic Arts Festival 2017/18 that opened on December 13, 2017 and will run until January 23, 2018. Many exhibitions and large scale installations are on view at the Sharjah Art Museum, and on other venues such as Al Majaz Waterfront, Al Majaz Amphitheatre, Awqaf Department, Al Qasba, Maraya Art Centre, and Calligraphy Square.