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New York City, NY


The Colour Section

I finished my MA at The School of Visual Arts, I had been going most Sundays to visit my grandmother who lived in Brooklyn Coney Island, for the last 50 years since the 1920s. She lived in an Art Deco building and her flat felt like it came straight out of an Isaac Bashevis Singer book, Jewish, working class and lovely old things everywhere.

The bedroom suite, chests of drawers, the living room furniture, the enamelled-top kitchen table had been purchased at the time of her marriage in the teens, even most of the things in her kitchen, the crockery and the cooking utensils. I loved all these old things in her flat, including photo albums that had been assembled when my mother was a child, everything had remained largely unchanged (except for the TV), probably since the time she and my grandfather had moved into this flat. There was a set old prints on the walls of three Audubon birds, a few old oil paintings and an old tapestry.

On my way to Brooklyn, I would take the Q train, buy the New York Times when I exited the subway and then spend a few hours with her, eating lunch and reading the newspaper. The photographs in the newspaper were in black and white, in my grandmother’s flat everything was faded, from her past and my mother’s childhood. Everything was the same since I was a child, when we visited her and my grandfather once or twice a year from London, where I was raised.

I wanted to look at the tapestry closely so I took it off the wall and put it flat onto the table, on top of The New York Times at the page I was reading, I looked at the tapestry and the political section of the newspaper alongside each other. The tapestry was faded, the photographs in the newspaper were in black and white, I imagined them both in vibrant colour.

In a drawer in one of my grandmother’s wardrobes was a box of embroidery thread, it hadn’t been opened for decades, the colours of the threads hadn’t faded. I also found embroidery needles and cross stitch fabric. I took this all home, glued the fabric to the reverse of a sheet of newspaper, and started to embroider coloured threads through a photograph in The New York Times.   

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