Michaëlle SergileMontreal, Canada
Michaëlle Sergile is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Fibres and Material Practices at Concordia University. She started her bachelor’s degree in Visual and Media Arts at the UQAM, focusing on the physical decomposition of the human body. She is now continuing her studies building on a concept created by Kimberlé Crenshaw. She questions the concept of intersectionality using the procedures of recomposition through decomposition.
She also questions the relationship between the work of authors such as Frantz Fanon and Mayotte Capécia, along with the position of black women in postcolonial narratives. She has already taken part in several exhibitions, including one in Brooklyn’s ArtHelix Gallery and another at Miami’s Aqua Art Fair.
At the moment, she is artistic director and project manager of the Nigra Iuventa platform. She and Diane Gistal were curators at the very first exhibition created by and for black women in Quebec. She had the privilege of working with several artists, including Martine Chartrand, Zanele Muholi, Shanna Strauss and Eddy Firmin.
With a keen interest in rewriting history through weaving, Michaëlle Sergile reworks mostly texts and books on postcolonial theory. As early as 1952, in Black Skin, White Masks, Frantz Fanon—often cited as one of the most important authors of postcolonial theory— wrote of the power relations between colonizers and colonized peoples, as well as between black individuals and their community. This major work gave rise to the coding system used by Michaëlle to weave books and passages that bring cultural identity into question.
The weaving lexicon is closely tied to identity issues. When weaving, threads are intertwined and create intersections, like discourses taking shape. They sometimes reflect a cultural blend where fabric becomes a crossroad of cultural differences. Other times, they reflect the crossing of intersectional thoughts.
Weaving thus turns into a defence mechanism against past and future injustice. An armour of sorts that blossoms not only into a work of art, but also a statement. Just as Josh Faught used weaving as a tool against certain kinds of discrimination, the fabrics created by Michaëlle Sergile attempt to relate and make visible stories that had subsided into silence.
Photo credit : Samuel Gélinas