The Dress For Our Time, created by artist Professor Helen Storey from the Centre for Sustainable Fashion at LCF, has traveled to Italy to be part of the 58th edition of the International Art Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia. The dress has been selected to be part of Rothko in Lampedusa, a project that reflects on the inherent and individual value of refugees through art.
During its first day in Venice, Italian supermodel Bianca Balti took on the streets wearing the dress made out of a tent from the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, attracting the eyes of hundreds of visitors who saw her walking along iconic spots in the city. The powerful performance also caught the attention of the Italian press, with Vogue Italia, Huffington Post, La Repubblica and many more reporting on the act supported by UNHCR Italia.
“The Venice Biennale has long been, perhaps, THE place on earth, where the depth and breadth of human imagination is made available for all to see – it puts one’s faith back in humanity, for its shear ingenuity and global cultural representation of us all," says Helen. Even though this is not the first time that the artist and researcher participates at the Biennale — she displayed her Dress of Glass and Flame back in 2012 — this year she's not only showcasing her creation as a piece of art, but also as vehicle for social change:
I found powerful purpose and reason to use art in service to our times, and that's how the Dress for Our Time was created; initially, as a way to engage the public with the connections between climate change and migration at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015. Four years later, she's still touring the world.
The Dress For Our Time will be on display at the Venice Biennale until the end of May, sitting "with great pride and reason" alongside art work from international and younger refugee artists reflecting on the migrant crisis for the Rothko in Lampedusa exhibition: "This show is for those who need reminding that, against the current troubles of our times, we are also a species capable of ingenuity, progress and hope,” Helen adds.
Images by Stefano Maniero