Celia de Villiers - Beyond An Inferno

Medium: Painted silk, chiffon, tulle and cotton. Hand spun, hand dyed and commercial embroidery threads and yarns, hand and machine embroidery. Hand quilted.


“If loss is known only by what remains of it, then the politics and ethics of mourning lie in the interpretation of what remains—how remains are produced and animated, how they are read and sustained”[1]

In 2017 wildfires destroyed our garden, olive grove, and a warehouse in Portugal containing most of my possessions.  In a single night my macro collection of vintage textiles, yarns, artworks and household goods had been reduced to micro fragments of rubble.  

The burnt debris and the ensuing rain had yielded astonishing tints, textures and contorted shapes.  For two years, compelled to express the disaster, I repeatedly made drawings of our burnt power-tools as they lay amongst the remaining chaos.  While decoding those aftermath drawings into an embroidery during 2020, I inverted them.  My interpretation became an imaginary, surreal place, an ambiguous stitched psycho-geographical map, navigated by salvaged and donated yarns and textiles. 


[1] Reference: The Politics of Mourning. Eng, D L and Kazanjian, D. 2003 (eds) Berkeley. University of California Press: p.ix

  • Celia de Villiers - Beyond An Inferno
  • The Threads That Bind Us
  • 2017
  • Various Fibre
  • Unframed
  • 70 x 90 cm
  • ZAR 40,500.00 (incl VAT)