'Diasporas', hanging textile by Norma Starszakowna, 2005
Norma Starszakowna's textiles deal with the complex relationships which link the past with the present. Oscillating between architectural installation, textile art and clothing, she focuses on the three dimensional surface qualities that can be achieved during the printing and dyeing process. The success of her experimental and innovative methods was recognised as early as 1977 when she received a Scottish Arts Council Award for research into new processes.
Made of white silk organza, screen-printed pigments and heat reactives, Diasporas is the latest in a series of textile hangings which relate directly to the history and memories embedded in walls and buildings. Each piece is inscribed with fragments of graffiti and messages that are highly evocative and include subtle references to both universal truths and highly personal experiences. Born in Scotland, Starszakowna remembers as a child standing on her father's shoulders, pinning his political pamphlets high up on walls beyond the reach of human destruction.
Starszakowna has undertaken a number of public commissions, and in 2003 she won the international competition to design a permanent installation for the new Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh. Called 'Hinterland' this consists of 18 silk organza panels that combine digital printing, hand painting and embossed detailing and reflects Scotland's landscape, industries, cultural history and tradition of innovation.
'Diasporas' is a significant acquisition for the Contemporary Textile Collection; Starszkowna has been highly influential both in developing textile art and in the field of higher education. She has played a pioneering role in advancing printing and dyeing techniques and in redefining craft as a politicised endeavour.