Sophie Utikal

Sophie Utikal (1987, US) was born the same year Gloria E. Anzaldúa published Borderlands. Since then, she has lived in many places, currently between Berlin and Vienna. In her artworks she combines textile fragments into self-portraits in large-format fabric pictures. She uses textile, the material of our clothes and therefore the negative form of her body, to transform situations of her life that have shaped her. She is aiming to empower not only herself but other Women of Color who share experiences of fighting back against oppression. Therefore, bringing her past into the present and opening it up to an experience of resilience for the viewer. Her technique, in which the black thread remains visible, is based on textile works that are made by women in her family in Colombia, with which she has been familiar since childhood. In the pictures she uses the representation of her body as a starting point to tell stories based on traumatic as well as pleasurable experiences of migration and self-empowerment as a woman of color in Germany and Austria. Departing from a decolonial perspective, her textile works are devoted to forms of knowledge beyond rationality: feeling, perceiving and being as physical knowledge processes.

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Fig. 1.
Sophie Utikal, Starry Night, 2020
Textile, 1.05 x 1.65 m.
Courtesy of the artist
Fig. 2.
Sophie Utikal, Can't Touch this, 2020
Textile, 1.10 x 0.8 m.
Courtesy of the artist
Fig. 3.
Sophie Utikal, What was is gone, 2020
Textile, 1.5 x 2 m.
Courtesy of the artist