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Queer Artist, DARKRECONSTRUCTION, Transforms Fashion Waste into Sustainable Art at NYC's Poetry Festival

by Tia Shah


As part of NYC's poetry festival, located in Governor's Island, sat the piece "Shrine of Looms" created by queer artist, DARKRECONSTRUCTION. 

An immersive installation, "Shrine of Looms" serves to fuel the promotion of recycling and reusing waste textiles, depicting an alternate purpose within itself - the creation of art.


The concept takes it's inspiration from the 92 tons of textile waste produced each year, dumped for a purposeless future, only causing damage to the planet. 

Synthetic fabrics, which are the majority that end up in waste, do not biodegrade. These fabrics most often come from the hands of labourers, people suffering for garments with such short lives, and some printing processed require polluting chemicals, causing further damage and sacrifice.

The artist notes an element of lost integrity within the textile world. There used to be a sanctity to the art of textile, it's creation was a skill integral to most cultures, and pieces were cared for and looked after for generations. “Shrine of Looms” encourages a resurrection of respect owed to textile, deserving a longer life and better treatment.


Hundreds of long strips of painted cloth are suspended in the air. This cloth is sourced from a vendor that deals with remnant and waste textiles and therefore keeping them from landfill, a small act that could have a butterfly effect positive consequence. 

Hand painted by the artist, the work features bright, bold, attention demanding colours whilst ensuring a sustainable and ethical process of creation.


The artist states that the installation "draws on the universally familiar imagery of shrines, prayer flags, and the near-worldwide custom of tying a ribbon or cloth to a tree to make a wish or prayer." 

The religious imagery emphasises the desperation of the plea to utilise remnant textiles, a cry so strong that it has become a prayer. 

Reference to the custom of tying ribbons seems to suggest that this is the artist's wish. As well as this, the imagery adds to the immersive experience, creating an ethereal atmosphere the viewer can be a part of and interact with.


What could be argued to be the key detail of the installation is that visitors are invited to enter the exhibit and if they resonate with one of the unique pieces, the piece is cut down for them with the promise that it is kept in use and out of landfill. 

The artist has the goal for there to be no pieces of fabric left at the event, so as to repurpose the waste textile that was used. 

Not only does this make the viewer part of the art and aid its purpose of being immersive, but the art will also successfully demonstrate turning a remnant textile into a found treasure. 

The artist notes, "The only condition people had to agree to, in order to cut down a wish, is that they will do their best to keep the little wish forever. A little treasure.”


The rather enchanting installation of “Shrine of Looms” by DARKRECONSTRUCTION is clear in it's successful function to recontextualise waste textile into treasure and serves as an inspiration to other environmental and ethical artists.


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