Artist Barbara Broekman uses textiles as a means to tell a story. By translating a distressing subject into a large woven tapestry, Broekman invites the viewer to look closely, and to reflect on the intense beauty of the image.
For the series Faith, Broekman was inspired by newspapers and horrifying events. She believes the photos are too beautiful to disappear in the endless, anonymous stream of press images. By appropriating them in this way, she acknowledges and immortalises them.
Bangladesh shows a girl with outstretched arms, one of the few survivors from the collapsed textile factory in the Rana Plaza in Bangladesh, being pulled from the rubble. From a distance, the entire scene is visible; up close, the image blurs and the emphasis shifts to the weaving technique.
Broekman transforms the photos into an abstract geometric pattern. The editing of the photos ensures that the weave can be accurately determined. All the pieces are based on a fixed colour palette, giving the series unity.
Based in Amsterdam, Broekman (1955) studied textiles at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy (1978-1982) and the California College of Arts, Berkeley, California. Her work is included in the collections of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, the Amsterdam Museum, the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum in New York and the TextielMuseum. Besides autonomous pieces, Broekman regularly makes commissioned work, including for the Holland America Line, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the Dutch embassy in Amman, Jordan, the Palace of Justice in Amsterdam and Hotel Arena in Amsterdam.