Leyla Stevens: Labours for colour
Labours for colour is a new moving image artwork by Australian-Balinese artist Leyla Stevens, staged in response to Dr John Yu’s collection of Southeast Asian textiles and artefacts. The exhibition weaves in a reflection on the diasporic condition of cultural objects, as they migrate around the world through collection practices. As a counterpoint lineage, documentation is shown of textile artisans on the Balinese island of Nusa Penida and the labours they enact to produce the cepuk style weaving that the island is known for. Moving through various stages of textile production, from the harvesting of plant dyes, to the final weaving, the video focuses on highly skilled gestures that bring these textiles to life. Through this interweaving of disparate places and processes, the video invites a consideration of the many hands that touch and shape a textile during its trajectory from ritualised object to collected artefact.