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Esther Kalaba


Collecting Loss

Weaving Threads of Memory

Independent Exhibition



Gallery 918
918 Bathurst Street

Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Nov. 16 - 30, 2012
(NOTE: These dates are specific to this exhibition)

Opening Reception: Friday, November 16, 2012 6 - 10 pm

Address: Gallery 918, 918 Bathurst Street, Toronto, Ontario (North of Bloor Street)
Dates: Nov. 16 - Nov. 30, 2012
Hours: Mon- closed, Tues- 1 - 5 pm, Wed. 1 - 5 pm, Thurs. and Fri 1 - 8 pm, Sat. and Sun. 11 - 5 pm
Directions: Click Here
Venue Website


Exhibition Description

Collecting Loss: Weaving Threads of Memory is a unique community-based art project, which brings together donations of clothing belonging to people who have died, stories inspired by this clothing written by their loved ones, and subsequently transforms these pieces into a multimedia public memorial installation, incorporating textiles, photography, audio, and print. Launched in 2007 by artist, Esther Kalaba and writer, Karen Haffey, this project has amassed over 100 contributions from Canada, the United States and England.

Cloth and narrative go hand in hand. Carrying visceral and tactile memories, cloth references the body and can allude to deeper psychological processes. Emotions, memories and life experiences – ultimately stories – are embedded within the threads themselves. With that in mind, the donated clothing was taken apart and re-sewn together using a technique of machine embroidery, thus becoming “new,” collective fabric, and making reference to the process of rebuilding after a death for the bereaved. Using strings and threads, these new pieces extend the rebuilding process outward from personal realms to relationships with others and, more importantly, to community - asking us to question how it is we deal with death and loss as a culture.

Collecting Loss is the first of its kind to combine textile art with storytelling to address society’s relationship to death and what it is to grieve. By using clothing from people who have died, this project takes what is most often a hidden, intimate reality and makes it public, thereby presenting some meaningful possibilities that invite the dead to be remembered and the living to witness what can happen when memories are given a public place to gather in living, breathing form.

Download the 2012 Festival Exhibition Brochure.





The 918 Gallery at  918 Bathurst Street .