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Mended Martyrdom

Maggie Wiebe

Cotton (my dad’s pants, brother’s shirt, my pants), linen (my mom’s shirt, aunt’s pants), cotton batting, cotton thread; Single channel video, linen, rayon, flax tow, acrylic, 2022

The ideal of self sacrifice for the sake of others has always been a central tenant to my understanding of Mennonite beliefs; the focus has always been on selflessness, and never on the families and communities left behind by those that martyr themselves. My own family has a long history of working in human service jobs, and though I am proud of this, I’ve also realized the unacknowledged toll this nonstop giving has on those around me. At what point does the Mennonite tradition of martyrdom become counterproductive? These works attempt to answer that question by embracing and exaggerating the labor and self sacrifice that is inherent to traditional Mennonite fiber arts. For each piece, a personal article of clothing (a pair of pants, a sweater) is used to create a new textile that is then used to serve others (a quilt, a towel) and in the process renders the original garment unusable.