Scars of Labor
2018 Fabric, embroidery thread, metal and
wooden embroidery hoops
8 pieces: diameters ranging from 4 to 7 inches
These works capture scars on the bodies of two women who work as manual laborers on construction sites. Delicately hand embroidered onto scrap fabric, the scars are the result of varied domestic and commercial work that these women perform: a blood blister from falling bricks, a burn from boiling water dropped in the kitchen, a scab from a hot welding rod, a scar from a c-section during childbirth. By placing these scars side by side, the work attempts to highlight the physicality of the labor that women do both in and outside the domestic domain. Furthermore, by capturing graphic scars, otherwise very masculine badges of honor, through the form of the feminine act of embroidery, the work attempts to bridge the gap between feminine forms of labor (domestic) and masculine forms of labor (commercial). The women whose bodies display these scars are themselves forced to bridge this divide as economic circumstances force on them the “double day” of performing domestic chores side-by-side with paid manual work. Both beautiful and grotesque at the same time, these scars speak to the way in which both domestic and commercial labor can be simultaneously sites of empowerment and exploitation of the female body.