Racconti Di Punto (Stitch Tales)

Pina Santoro

24 May – 20 June 2021

About this Exhibition

During the COVID-19 pandemic, my research interests began to expand beyond my usual ones based around culture, identity, tradition, ritual, and placement/displacement.

Typically, I research the lived experiences, stresses and frustrations of second and third-generation Italian/Sicilian immigrant women born in the UK, from a folkloristic perspective.

While beginning a new art project around my British-Sicilian community, I began looking at my relationships and how they help me to cope and thrive day-by-day. At the beginning of the pandemic, around March 2020, I began thinking about what it means to make work alone, at home, and how to keep connected with my communities, family and friends. Lockdown changed the levels of engagement between us and they reached beyond what I expected.

There was an obvious need for both myself and the participants of the project to have a space to share our thoughts. The connections were captured by stitching onto used teabags, artefacts created during a conversation over text, email or social media; a tiny piece of throwaway material otherwise discarded.

The backdrop for these fragments is a Sicilian table cloth that belonged to my mother and was used at family Easter celebrations gone by. The created objects mark an end and a new beginning. This exhibition serves as an account and visualisation of encounters, connections and of life in lockdown with my British-Sicilian immigrant community.

About Pina Santoro

Pina Santoro is an artist whose practice is mainly ceramics and sculpture based, but she maintains strong links with painting, print, textiles, sound and socially engaged performance. Her concerns lie in culture, identity, tradition and ritual. She brings to light the frustrations and lived experiences of placement and displacement as a second-generation immigrant woman born in the UK.

In this solo exhibition, Santoro considers how social constructions around her were put to the test during the pandemic.

Seven round paper shapes taken from teabags are arranged in a flower design and stitched together. The paper shapes have various words and icons stitched on to them, for example 'love', 'peace' and 'family'.
Two flowerpots made from tins with succulents in them. In front of the tins is a round papers shape from a teabag with the word 'comfort' stitched onto it.
A square paper shape taken from a teabag has the word 'Aperitivo' stitched onto it.
A pile of used and dried teabags, the one on the top has the sentence 'I cried when she went to hospital' stitched onto it.
A traditional white Sicilian table cloth with an orange crochet border and floral embroidery. Paper shapes with various words and designs stitched onto them have been added to the tablecloth.