Tamar Dresdner Art projects, Tel Aviv
In recent years, incorporating snippets of used cloths and fibers became an important and central practice in Batia Shani's work. In light of the growing awareness of environmental issues, several global brands in the fashion industry have also started working with used cloths. The fabric remnants that she uses carry the history of her family, as some are shreds of clothing worn by her family members and by herself.
Shan’s gaze focuses on the readymade, leftovers, things that had different functions in the past and somehow found their way to her work. The dress has been a recurring motif. In her earlier body of work, the dresses stood for her mother’s absent body — or, when composed of military uniforms, dealt with issues of war trauma.
This newly exhibited body of work features miniature dresses and attempts to shine a light on and evoke questions about the current situation of young girls in different parts of the world, who are forced to get married at a very young age. As well, the plight of so many children who are refugees while the world stands idly by. The dresses are made of used paper that has served Shani in different ways, on top of which she adds knitting, embroidery, and found objects. The use of such a delicate material echoes the fragility of those children and the situation of displacement.
Self Portrait is a new series of collages made of papers and mixed media. The center image in each work is a cactus. Tzabar is the Hebrew word for a specific kind of local cactus, which is an emblem of the Israeli: prickly on the outside but sweet on the inside. Accompanying this symbol are buttons, stamps, texts, pieces of newspapers, fabrics, and shopping lists — all elements taken from Shani’s life.