Indira Allegra

  • Indira Allegra uses text and textile production—a combined material she designates as a “text/ile”—to embody unseen forces like memory, haunting, grief, and emotions born from trauma. Toni Morrison has written that “invisible things are not necessarily not-there,” and it is in this space of not-thereness that Allegra’s work resides. She works to reveal and center the histories and experiences, often violent or traumatic, of people and places that have been rendered invisible. Her practice explores how the ancient technology of weaving can offer contemporary insights into human patterns. She defines weaving as the crossing of any two forces held under tension, which acts a generative creative material. Informed by months of research and making, her weavings, photographs, installations, performances, videos, and writing are often site-responsive, incorporating the tensions of the spaces, materials, and objects she encounters. For Allegra, each of these things is alive with memory and functions as a collaborator in the art-making process. These tensions might also be described as hauntings, which scholar Avery F. Gordon describes as a “repressed or unresolved social violence is making itself known.” Allegra’s practice expresses that which haunts us as a society, both locally and globally: the history of gay-bashings in San Francisco, police violence, suicide, public lynchings, exile, and physical ailments and disability. But her work also seeks to recuperate grief as a collective act, a shift that might relieve some of the burden suffered by the body and materials that act as containers for these histories.

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Indira Allegra

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Indira Allegra uses text and textile production—a combined material she designates as a “text/ile”—to embody unseen forces like memory, haunting, grief, and emotions born from trauma. Toni Morrison has written that “invisible things are not necessarily not-there,” and it is in this space of not-thereness that Allegra’s work resides. She works to reveal and center the histories and experiences, often violent or traumatic, of people and places that have been rendered invisible.

Her practice explores how the ancient technology of weaving can offer contemporary insights into human patterns. She defines weaving as the crossing of any two forces held under tension, which acts a generative creative material. Informed by months of research and making, her weavings, photographs, installations, performances, videos, and writing are often site-responsive, incorporating the tensions of the spaces, materials, and objects she encounters. For Allegra, each of these things is alive with memory and functions as a collaborator in the art-making process.

These tensions might also be described as hauntings, which scholar Avery F. Gordon describes as a “repressed or unresolved social violence is making itself known.” Allegra’s practice expresses that which haunts us as a society, both locally and globally: the history of gay-bashings in San Francisco, police violence, suicide, public lynchings, exile, and physical ailments and disability. But her work also seeks to recuperate grief as a collective act, a shift that might relieve some of the burden suffered by the body and materials that act as containers for these histories.