An handwoven island floating above a precious sea of indigo represents Hala Kaiksow‘s poetic contribution to the national pavilion of Bahrain at the International Art Exhibition Venice Biennale 2019.
The young designer, who trained in fine arts before turning to fashion, paid homage to the costumes and identity of her native country by using her signature working techniques to create a piece that blurs the lines between art, fashion and craftsmanship. Kaiksow woven on the same hand loom she uses for making clothing a floor-to-ceiling tapestry made of scraps of fabrics painstakingly quilted together. She then hand dyed the piece in natural indigo and, within the process, part of the color accidentally faded away, whimsically drawing the outline of an island that reminded Hala of Bahrain. This new-found topography embodies the roots of her country, once one of the richest Middle Eastern kingdom for its strategic position and the trade of pearls. Hala embellished the piece with golden and silver threads representing the precious shell treasures hidden in the indigo sea but also echoing the national uniform of Bahrain. The land is peaceful but ungrounded, it floats in the air subjected to the elements, like the country after the British colonization ruled by the effects of its close relationship to Saudi. It also floats through time, preserving its rich history dated back to Ancient Mesopotamia while trying to be as modern and up-to-date like the neighbouring Emirates. Hala Kaiksow stays true to the sustainable cause that she embraced with her clothing line by creating the artpiece with upclyed materials and natural dyes that have low the impact on the planet.