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On Skin with Yuko Edwards

24 Jan – 12 Feb 2022

Experience “On Skin” where multi-disciplinary artist Yuko Edwards opened her project and exhibition that explored the themes of skin, scars, and healing. From 24 January to 12 February 2022, visitors had the opportunity to participate, talk, explore, and heal.

Yuko Edwards, during her time at St Anne’s House, delved into the function of the skin as a metaphor for human resilience and the endurance required to survive in the modern world.

Engaging with the artist during open suturing sessions, attendees had the unique chance to gather around a table and learn the art of suturing firsthand. By cutting fabric that symbolised skin, fat, and blood, participants embarked on a journey of healing.

These sessions sparked profound conversations between the artist and attendees, where personal stories, traumas, and ideas were openly shared.

As the exhibition progressed, the sutured works became attached to a skeletal structure, which initially served as a blank canvas. Over time, this framework gradually became adorned with the scars and personal sutured creations of the visitors. This transformative process reflected the artist’s observation of society’s focus on mending, repairing, and repurposing materials and possessions. In “On Skin,” Yuko Edwards created a space that encouraged stitching together collective experiences, hurts, and psyches.

“On Skin” provided a journey of self-reflection, healing, and connection that left a lasting impression on those who experienced it.

“In this body, I found the perfect place to hold the trauma. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to explore it through ‘On Skin.’ My hope is that through this project, others are now finding their voice and opening up about their own experiences.”

– Yuko Edwards 2023

Throughout her time in the project space, the artist held an artist talk, displayed images and a film of her work. The intention was to be understated with her body of work, and allow the space to evolve with the visitors.

On reflection

Yuko comments on the rawness of the space at the beginning phases of St Anne’s House forming into a welcoming space for the public. Commenting on the space being left alone during the full process, allowing for yesterdays presence to remain into the following day. The artist comments on the powerful interactions she had with the visitors, from hearing their stories, and that she’ll know that a large part of the project will be hers alone, with no documentation due to the nature of in person human connection.

Find out more about the work

BBC article: The Japanese craft that helps us heal

This skeleton has been patched together piece by piece in a series of workshops. As they sew, many of its makers recall the times they, too, have been stitched up. They discuss the scars left behind. A wound is knitted together with sutures. Even after those stitches are removed or dissolve, evidence of their presence remains on the skin. Pale ridges, pink sheens, wrinkles and dips and nubs of tissue: the marks left behind are a memento, a reminder of that period of physical recovery. It’s not called “being on the mend” for nothing. 

On Skin with Yuko Edwards

Yuko Edwards (b. 1975, Iowa City) is an American artist who lives and works in Bristol, England. She uses video as a tool to express social, cultural and political realities. Her work addresses concepts of self and social identity; notions of space and place are often present. She uses history as a reference in her work to demonstrate how we have developed and changed over time. She was a recipient of a NYFA artist fellowship in 2000. The video “Politics from a Black Woman’s Insides” screened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, and festivals around the world.