The Hive-Dress @ Centre for the Contemporary Arts

The Hive-Dress @ Centre for the Contemporary Arts

Hughie Lee-Smith<br />The Hive-Dress

For close to a year, Audy and Faubert collected over 1000 ‘thoughts’ from seamstresses in Montréal’s garment district. Inscribed onto thin strips of paper (by the seamstresses themselves), these thoughts were then sewn onto an “infinite red ribbon” made from cut, dyed and ironed scraps of fabric collected in those same factories. In the gallery space, this ribbon is woven into a large, “walk-in” sculpture that is suspended from the ceiling. The resulting conic structure of “Hive-Dress” suggests both a uniquely penetrable bee-hive (with its clear reference to the exclusively female work force of the bee colony) and the “quietness and security that one would feel under a gigantic mother’s skirt.”

The 1000 intimate reflections of the seamstresses (“Il fait chaud!”, “Today my independes day of Pakistan”, “io penso a mia mama e mio papa”, “Morin i mojk puno pozdrava od mana”, “Je mangez du poulé”, “I have to learn to make a bow” and “God help me, god help me, god help…”) are a complex mixture of the poetic and banal: at once heartfelt, commonplace and disturbing, the product of a (culturally and historically) diverse community of labourers that can be “nurturing and supportive as well as hierarchical and exclusionary”.

In addition to their painstaking collection of the 1000 written texts, the artists also interviewed some of the women on a more personal level, asking them to speak, in their own languages, about their work and the different thoughts that run through their minds while their body is physically constrained, for hours, in the performance of thousands of repetitive gestures. The recorded interviews are incorporated into the installation as hushed, multilingual voices whispering from tiny holes in the gallery walls.

In “The Hive-Dress (La Robe-ruche)”, Audy and Faubert present an elegant, complex and multi-layered expression that bears poetic witness to the day-to-day reality of the diverse community of immigrant workers-a reality which is, for the most part, invisible to the “rest of us”.

Please join Artcite Inc. and artist Heloise Audy for the opening reception of “The Hive Dress (La Robe-ruche)” at 7:30 pm on Friday, February 27, 2009. This event is free and open to the public.

“The Hive-Dress (La Robe-ruche)” by Heloise Audy and Julie Faubert is organized by Artcite Inc. and presented in cooperation with the 2009 Windsor Labour Arts Festival (sponsored by the Labour Studies Program of the University of Windsor and endorsed by the Windsor & Dsitrict Labour Council), the Windsor Workers’ Action Centre and International Women’s Day (celebrated annually on March 8).

For 2009 Windsor Labour Arts Festival information, visit:

For further information on this Artcite Inc. exhibition, please contact: Christine Burchnall, Administrative Coordinator or Leesa Bringas, Artistic Coordinator or ( 519.977.6564 )

Artcite Inc. is supported by its members and volunteers and by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and the City of Windsor.

Artcite Inc. is located at:
109 University Ave. W., in downtown Windsor, Ontario, N9A 5P4
ph/fax: 519.977.6564; email:; web:
Gallery hours: Wed – Sat, noon – 5 pm or by appointment

[ 1982-2007 ]

C O N T A C T :

109 University Ave. W.
Windsor, ON
N9A 5P4 Canada

P H / F X :
* +01.519.977.6564

E M A I L S :
* Artcite General Information
* Christine Burchnall : Administrative Coordinator
* Leesa Bringas : Artistic Coordinator

U R L S :
* Artcite Inc

G A L L E R Y H O U R S :
* Wed – Sat, 12 – 5 pm or by appointment