Featured Artist Activist Salley Mavor
Wee Folk Players: Political Satire in Stitch
(all photos copyrighted by and with the kind permission of Salley Mavor)
For many, textile artist Salley Mavor needs no introduction. She has spent the last forty years creating narrative scenes in bas-relief in what she calls, “miniature, shallow stage sets, with figures imposed on embellished fabric backgrounds.” She is well known for her children’s book illustrations, including the 2010 award-winning
But increasingly, her work is moving away from simple, sweet narratives to address real issues. Her first full effort in this area was with a 2016 piece about refugees called Displaced.
After the election, Mavor created the Wee Folk Players, forming scenes of political satire that gave voice to her frustration. She said in a Facebook post to her fans in explanation, “I am not by nature a political person, but I believe that speaking out through art is important for the health of our democracy, especially now. Art making requires a point of view, which can be confronting, depending on a person’s background and beliefs.”
There has been some pushback against Mavor’s satire, with fans arguing that there is no room in her art for political criticism but Mavor defends her move as a “natural evolution” of the direction her work was taking over the last two years. And while there have been dissenters, overwhelmingly fans have embraced the new style of stitch that Mavor has taken, sensing the comic relief it provides while telling truths in a simple, straightforward, and beautiful manner.