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The Threads, Our Names Become

In collaboration with Eunice Pais & Tra My Nguyen, Funded & Supported by Stitching Sonsbeek & State of Fashion

Anabel was invited as one of the fashion practitioners to co-create a commissioned work for the Ways Of Caring Biennale 2022.


Amidst the threads, our names become. is a multidisciplinary installation exploring fragmented narratives on textile, fashion and material culture through a diasporic lens.

To challenge Eurocentric narratives around displaced identities, cultural symbolisms, labour and the space held for such stories to exist, this project serves as a way to reclaim not only narratives but also as an invitation to understand the migration phenomena and its dynamics in material culture. The starting point is each co-creators’ autobiographical approach to the subject matter.

The three-channel-video explores through interview and filmed footages from perspectives of three protagonists: 1. Rosa, Mozambican- born, radicated in Portugal since the beginning of the war for Independence in Mozambique- weaves memories, symbols, meaning and transformation in her narration. 2. Phuong, a Vietnamese woman living in Germany, guides us through her story, exemplifying dreams that come to fruition - from the time she started to sew to where she is now. 3. Anabel, takes us on a journey of care, intricate labour, textile culture, tradition and innovation.

The textiles hung within the installation are made with traditional capulanas from Mozambique and batik from Singapore. The capulanas are vibrant and graphical, while the batiks are intricate and delicate. Despite the origins and patterns, both textiles are made with the same wax-resist dyeing technique which originated from Indonesia and travelled through Dutch Colonialism.

These found textiles hold great cultural value to the textile craft and women within these countries. Through their deconstruction, the fabrics turn to threads, boundaries are blurred as they return to their primary form. This act of unmaking becomes a form of decolonising these textiles. Thus, finding space and strength for new bonds and connections, where new narratives can emerge.

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Final Installation at Fashion As Encounters Exhibition during State of Fashion's Ways of Caring Biennale 2022

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Stills from the film

Photograph of Rosa with Capulanas


Process of designing the textiles

Bindings of final textile

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You may view the videos in the following links with their respective passwords-
Link to video 1 PW: capulana, Link to video 2 PW: halle, Link to video 3 PW: batik

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