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Social Fabric symposium: Joana Vasconcelos’ ‘Valkyrie Trousseau’

Artist focus – Social Fabric Symposium

Joana Vasconcelos lives and works in Lisbon, Portugal. The nature of Vasconcelos’ creative process is based on the appropriation, decontextualisation and subversion of pre-existent objects and everyday realities. She uses sculpture, installation, performances, video and photographic records to challenge the prearranged routines of the quotidian.

Joana Vasconcelos, Valkyrie Troussea, 2009

Social Fabric Symposium is coming up soon and we are excited to have several exciting speakers including artists, curators, writers and cultural theorists. Showing in the afternoon of the symposium is a documentary on Joana Vasconcelos’ piece Valkyrie Trousseau, 2009.

Here’s a video clip showing this stunning and detailed collaboration:

Enxoval (The Bottom Drawer) is a documentary film by Kitty Oliviera, Pedro Macedo, Isabel Freire. This documentary shows the collaboration between Joana and a community of artisans from Nisa (a small town in the Alentejo region renowned for its arts and crafts), as well as the work process, while also featuring interviews with the women artisans who are the protagonists of a unique tradition in Portugal.

Watch the trailer for the film:


The unique aspect of Portuguese culture explored in this film is the creation of an embroidered bridal trousseau. Traditionally girls from the age of six would work for years to create the trousseau, which would then be sold on the eve of their wedding, the proceeds of which would go towards a house for the newslyweds. In modern times young girls are not interested in learning how to embroider, and the laborious techniques typical of Nisa are sadly becoming obsolete.

Find out more about the symposium