Maggie Scott is an artist who creates her artwork from the particularity of who she is: a black woman, a feminist, a daughter, a mother, an activist, an artist and British.
Her most recent Textile works use felted re-interpretations of photographic images that often explore the politics of representation and the tensions and contradictions of a Black British identity.
“I am very interested in developing a dialogue with an ethnically diverse Audience, in particular one that identifies as Black.
I would love to see a critical and open debate about representations of Ethnicity and the function of Art and Craft in a multicultural society.”
Well-known for her sumptuously crafted felt textiles, her latest large-scale works draw out the aesthetic and symbolic potential of the laborious process of felting.
After graduating from St. Martin’s School of Art in 1976, Maggie was immediately invited to the John Ashpool team based in Perugia, designing knitwear for exclusive boutiques around the world. Moving between Italy and France, she spent four years learning her trade before setting up her first studio in 1980. Maggie Scott has focused on a highly successful career of creating woven, knitted, stitched and felted pieces of ’wearable art’. Her professional life as a textile artist has existed in parallel with her involvement in gender and race politics.
“For many years now I have been engaged with the politics of liberation and during the 1980s and 90s was very active within groups and campaigns for women in general and black women in particular,……Until recently it had not seemed possible to combine these two passions, but the chance decision to take time out from producing wearable textiles and experiment with a series of large, autobiographical pieces led to a ‘shape of thing’s bursary award.”
The shape of things was an ambitious artists’ exhibition and venue development initiative for contemporary crafts. The shape of things aimed to encourage a
Maggie’s one-woman show ’NEGOTIATIONS’
hosted by New Walk Museum & Art Gallery, Leicester (7th April – 20th May 2012)
Since 2013 The catalyst for most of Maggie’s work has been the phenomenon of ‘Zwarte Piet’- the black servant/slave who accompanies Saint Nicolas at Christmas in the Netherlands. The early pieces including large felted portraits, a short film and photomontage prints are all direct critiques of this quaint (and offensive) Dutch ritual.
“Teddy’ were inspired by an interview with a Dutch parent who defended the practice of ‘blacking up’ as Zwarte Piet as a great way for young white
Using self-portraiture to place herself in the centre of the story creating an alter-ego for Piet The series ‘Big SISTER’ invites the viewer to re evaluate Zwarte Piet, no longer the slave or child-like fool, but a commanding adult female presence with a very different agenda.
“For the last 15 years Photography and specifically self-portraiture has played a key role in all my work. While many of the manipulated images become textiles, each series of work always generate ‘stand alone’ photographs…”
Her series of Textiles called ‘No One came here to hide’ concentrates’ on portraiture. The title, a quote by the writer and performer Bill Withers was taken from a recent radio interview. The portraits, a natural progression from her previous work investigating black face and Zwarte Piet, had a working title of ‘I see you – but do you see me…?’
While my initial focus was on capturing certain regard, the juxtaposition of layers offers an opportunity to explore the tension and possible conflicting narratives – escaping or hiding? Opening up or closing down? Object or subject?
For her latest work see her blog “ In the studio now…”