Crochet Artist Olek Covers A Homeless Shelter In India With Technicolor Yarn

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Polish artist Olek not only treats her crochet practice as an art form, but also as a catalyst for social change, or at least political and societal commentary. As a part of the St+art Delhi street festival in Delhi, she chose a homeless shelter to decorate with her colorful and energetic woolen pieces. Enlisting the help of fashion design labels in India to not only donate fabric and materials to her community project, but also volunteering helpers, she was able to cover a huge space. Paying homage to India’s infamous textile economy and bright culture, Olek stitches vivid patterns of purples, blues, reds, yellows and oranges together.

She normally recreates anything in stitches that crosses her way – from text messages to medical reports to found objects; she has even covered an entire studio apartment and a life-size dinosaur with her signature crochet. She says of her intention behind her work:

My work changes from place to place. I studied the science of culture. With a miner’s work ethic, I long to delve deeper and deeper into my investigations. My art was a development that took me away from industrial, close-minded Silesia, Poland. It has always sought to bring color and life, energy, and surprise to the living space. I intend to take advantage of living in NYC with various neighborhoods and, with my actions, create a feedback to the economic and social reality in our community. (Source)

Always working with the public in the back of her mind, Olek has produced work in some pretty interesting settings, from Brazil to Brooklyn, and for some interesting causes. For more of her projects, see here. (Via Hi Fructose)

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  • TWickens

    To What End? Did this work improve or degrade the experience of the users of the homeless shelter? What, if anything is the idea and/or the message of this act? It looks like every other one of the artist’s projects, that seem to have nothing to do with homelessness, class, economic disparity or Indian culture. Either the story or the work itself, or both are a little thin on purpose and message, and if it is what it appears to be, art for art’s sake, it seems like an unfortunate choice of site. Do the homeless who use this space for shelter appreciate the work, any intended message or critique, and the media circus it apparently attracted? Without more information, one can only assume that at best this is just another spectacle by a creator of spectacles, with minimal impact on the local community. Unfortunately and more likely it is at the very least a bold reminder that the celebrated, successful and relatively economically powerful can reach across the globe and use the most marginalized members of society as a colourful backdrop for a luxuriant selfie.