Using fabric cutouts and machine and hand stitching on industrial felt, Kumao translates the emotional and psychological aspects of relationships into accessible visual narratives.
Threads pulled taut, tangled thread, stitching, and the forces of gravity and friction visualize the unseen forces experienced by women in different stages of life. Each piece illustrates the unspoken power dynamics of doctor’s visits, one-on-one conversations, the workplace, home, and the public sphere by freezing or replaying moments of vulnerability and precariousness.
The animations depict narrow slices of time carved out from a lifetime of memories living as a woman. As if in a dream state, female characters re-enact isolated moments, tasks, events, and conversations as a way of scrutinizing their own lived experience: “Is this how it happened? Am I remembering this right?”
This work is inspired, in part, by the courage and testimony of women like Christine Blasey Ford and others in the #MeToo movement who publicly report assault or harassment. The title, “Real AND Imagined,” is a direct reference to how a woman’s testimony is received. Her account is accepted as truthful by many, and simultaneously dismissed as IMAGINARY by the court of public opinion: “She must have imagined it. Her memory is wrong. He was just joking.”