A recent Arts Arena event  hosted by AUP, featured several speakers including the British installation artist Kirstie Macleod (pictured below). Staying with the theme, “Cultural Interaction through the Creative Arts,” Kirstie spoke about using art as a form of activism.

(Photo courtesy of Now Public)

The performance piece that she created, Barocco (a rough or imperfect pearl), is meant to be a commentary on the UK in post-colonial times. The work demands that a woman dressed in a hand-embroidered gown, sit in a glass box for four minutes. According to Kirstie, the box is symbolic of a pearl, and the woman inside speck of sand at its core.

What really struck me about this piece was the amazing dress. Kirstie vetted some of the most skilled seamstresses from around the world to work on the dress, each contributing their own design and messaging. The dress was designed to represent constraint, yet enhance a woman’s beauty, and will continue to be embroidered until it can stand up on its own due to the strength of the material.Here you can see some of the incredible detail that went into this work of art:

This was the first of a four-part speakers series organized by AUP’s Arts Arena, UNESCO, Melody for Dialogue Among Civilizations, and the International Music Council, in honor of UNESCO’s naming 2010 the “International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures.” The next event three forums will be hosted at UNESCO and will focus on music as a catalyst for Cultural Dialogue and communication, and using music and sport for cultural harmony.

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