Cairn /kern/ noun: A pile of rocks used as a landmark, a burial monument or as a trail marker. Cairns guide our way, aid us in getting our bearings, mark a significant place.
Chunks of concrete remind me of the rubble of the Rana Plaza Factory Collapse, which took the lives of 1,129 garment workers in Bangladesh in 2013.
I have re-imagined these chunks of concrete as Cairns that might aid us in navigating our understanding of how our clothes are made. Our clothes travel complicated journeys, from human hands in unsafe factories on the other side of the planet, to our closets, our dressers, and our bodies. The women who made them are unseen by us – but the work of their hands surrounds us.
This work pays homage to the 1,129 garment workers who died in the collapse of the Rana Plaza Factories on April 24, 2013. I honor the will of the survivors and many other garment workers who struggle to provide for their families under unfair working conditions.
This work grows out of a collaboration with writer Alison Morse. The Price of Our Clothes, a material meditation on garment factory disasters, will be presented at Carleton College's Perlman Museum in April, 2018.