“We have slaughtered in the garden of beauty
Digging graves instead of planting
Mercy for the dead
A bitter justice
Begging eternity for love”
A Hungarian Prayer
Whether whispered, cried, sung, written, woven or stitched into cloth, the human heart brings forth prayers.
With the present-day world landscape in crisis and the threat of globalization and the increase of war and dis-ease, the world is witnessing an unprecedented outbreak of nationalism, separatism and ethnic/religious isolation, accompanied by violence and ecological destruction.
Fear has ambushed our good intentions. So often love has been carefully placed away in our protected places, those same places where we keep our family linens and heirlooms, shut away in drawers, wrapped up in boxes. The ‘good books’ of religion espouse love and trust, but few of us trust another in these days of uncertainty, yet alone our own selves.
I have continually been interested in the aspect of balance and harmony and how we might begin again to bring a balance back into our over busy lives. We so often forget the suffering and the destruction which lies only moments from our own protected doorways. We collectively and individually close our doors to the pain of others.
Throughout life’s journeys I have discovered the human voice in all its diversity is what is left, regardless of the language, regardless of the situation and culture. It is this power of the human voice which I wish to understand and explore more deeply through the aspect of prayer, petition, entreaty, supplication and invocation.
In exploring how we can re-establish harmony with one another and with the earth, the ideas of mercy, grace and beauty seem appropriate to me. I want the grief of others to matter.
Artist statement, March 2007
Maggie Tchir has been a working artist, exhibition curator, textile historian and educator for the past thirty years. Born and raised in Vancouver, she moved to the West Kootenay region of BC in 1976. She attended the universities of British Columbia and Eastern Washington and graduated with Honours from Langara College in Vancouver. She also attended the Banff School of Fine Arts.
As an artist, her work in contemporary fibre and mixed media has been exhibited nationally and internationally and is included in private and corporate collections in Canada, the US and abroad. Maggie is a 3 time scholarship recipient from the Banff School of Fine Arts Summer Programs, The Grace Cameron Rogers Scholarship from the Crafts Association of BC and The Sheila Hugh MacKay Foundation Award. In 2006 she received a Columbia Basin Artist Grant.
As an educator, she has a lengthy history of teaching traditional ethnographic and contemporary fibre in both Canada and the United States. Maggie currently teaches at the Kootenay School of the Arts in Nelson and from 1995 – 2005 was the studio coordinator of the Fibre Studio.
Her world textile research and studies have included residency and travel in Tibet, Nepal, India, Japan, Europe, the American Southwest and Mexico. From 1998 to 2002 she worked as a consultant with the Navajo people for the “Sheep is Life” Feltmaking Project on the Navajo reservation in Arizona. For several years was a research associate at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture and the Laboratory of Anthropology in Santa Fe, New Mexico.