Welcome to the Dior Talks podcast series themed around the seventh edition of Dior Lady Art and hosted by Paris-based journalist Katya Foreman. For this year’s event, 11 artists from around the world have participated in a game of metamorphosis by rendering the iconic Lady Dior handbag as a unique piece of art.
Born in Cairo, Egypt, raised in France and now based out of Harlem, New York, artist Ghada Amer — the first Egyptian artist to participate in the project — drew on her anger at women’s exclusion from the history of art to develop her own language of painting based on embroidery.
The feminist artist, whose universe celebrates women, women's bodies, and women's rights, and whose mediums range from sculpture to gardening, describes her Lady Dior designs as “protest” pieces.
“That was more interesting for me than just making a beautiful bag,” says Amer who took inspiration from a garden installation titled ‘Women’s Qualities,’ created in different renditions for different locations around the world.
For the project, the artist used flowers and plants to spell out different qualities used to describe women that she gathered during polls with locals, forming “sculpture gardens.” A selection of these words, including ‘strong,’ ‘resilient’ and ‘determined,’ are embroidered on her Lady Dior bags. One features a textured inside-out effect inspired by the tactile nature of her works.
“I want women to feel all of these qualities. For me, it's important to be empowered,” says Amer. “A bag is a very important object for a woman. It's with her all the time when she's outside. And when you are outside, you are the most vulnerable. So, it's important to always remember these qualities.”
The bags’ handles, meanwhile, are based on the artist’s ‘Thought Series’ which featured sculptures created with her left hand. “They are colourful and abstract; they look like my thoughts,” says the artist whose name features in the bags’ iconic charms.
Tune into the episode to learn more about her fascinating world.