Maggie Tchir's interest in spirituality and textiles has taken her across the globe and her study of Buddhism has deeply influenced this latest body of work entitled "Prayers". In this exhibition Maggie turns her attention to the study of our sense of 'humanity'; and the relationships we cultivate with others through our personal and collective voices. Throughout life's journeys she has discovered that the human voice in all its diversity is what is left, regardless of the language, regardless of religion and culture.
It is the power of the individual and collective human voice which she wishes to understand and explore more deeply through the aspect of prayer in its various forms from petition, entreaty, supplication and invocation. The emotions of grief and joy are also a part of this exploration, in the action of 'tilling' the human heart. Whether whispered, cried, sung, written or woven and stitched into cloth, the human heart brings forth prayers of praise, protection, redemption, grace and beauty.
Historically traditional prayers are recited or sung all over the world for wither protection or celebration; two sides of the coin - protection from evil and blessings for good. Prayer is a human act and, like the beating of the human heart, is universal in all creeds since time began. This body of work celebrates our collective imaginations and our collective human expression. Prayer may fall within the boundaries of organized religion and theology, but its essence goes deeper and is older than any religion.
We live in challenging times. With the present day world landscape in crisis and the threat of globalization and the increase of war and disease, we are witnessing an unprecedented outbreak of nationalism, separatism and ethnic / religious isolation, accompanied by violence, arrogance and ecological destruction. It takes an enormous amount of courage and heart to act, to speak, to imagine a difference. How do we attempt to build a new point of view of caring and tolerance? How do we act in the face of cultural and environmental atrocities? Where do we place our sense of outrage and grief? How do we balance this with tolerance, joy and human wonderment? How do we act in the face of massive changes?
In exploring how we can re-establish harmony with one another and with the earth, the ideas of mercy, grace and beauty seem appropriate. Maggie believes that collective grief matters as does the diversity of all life form. Great or small we all have an important role to play in imagining a more balanced world and then acting upon it.
Maggie Tchir has been a working artist, exhibit curator, textile historian and educator for the past thirty years. Her work in fibre and mixed media have been exhibited internationally and are held in private and corporate collections in Canada, the US and nations abroad. Her world textile research studies have included residency and travel in Asia, Europe and the American Southwest. She is currently works as a fibre instructor at the Kootenay School of the Arts at Selkirk College in Nelson.