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A Quilt Stitched Together With Humanity

Mark Menjivar
centerpiece of Fatma Bucak's exhibit

Artpace is a downtown gallery for modern art, but it's also a place that generates art. Three times a year Artpace draws artists to the city in its Artists in Residence program. They live at Artpace, creating projects in the facility's studios. Recently, the spring crop of resident artists  revealed their creations.  

"I am Fatma Bucak and I’m a Kurdish Artist from Turkey."

She was raised along the border with Syria, which made the very concept  of borders fascinating, and fluid to her.

"Borders for me—they are kind of not even real. They do exist in a political context.  And they exist because we decide they should exist."

So when she moved to San Antonio for her residency, she targeted the Mexican border for her art creation. Several trips there revealed something unsettling left behind by those passing through.

"They leave these clothes all around.  And I started to collect them and I work with them."

The clothing was left by desperate people in desolate places. She gathered them to cut up and create the centerpiece for her installation--a great big blanket of sewn together pieces of that clothing. She says the process was kind of creepy.

"It was basically collecting narratives and memories of others and cutting them into pieces and bringing them together.   You know that it’s a story, that is a memory of someone or traces of some journey."

Her creation also involves two simultaneous videos playing, and other elements.She thinks that like in her homeland, immigration shapes much about life in Texas. 

"It is a huge issue."

Her exhibit and the two other artist-in-residence exhibits will be on display through September 13th at Artpace’s downtown Main Avenue campus. 

For more on Artpace's Artist in Residence program, go here.

Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii