Sabi Westoby is a textile and mixed media artist based in London who has exhibited widely in the UK with three solo shows and many group shows. Her work has also been shown in the United States and Japan.
The exhibition, ‘Uprooted’, is Sabi’s newest body of work, a collection of textile hangings made in direct response to The List, a supplement published by The Guardian newspaper on 20 June 2018, World Refugee Day, recording 34,361 known refugee deaths over a 25 year period between 1993 and 2018. The works reflect her desire to acknowledge and give form and shape to the unknown men, women and children who died fleeing climate change, civil war and persecution, seeking safer lives in Europe.
Sabi works in series by exploring a particular theme in depth leading to a significant body of textile and mixed media pieces on her chosen subject. Previous topics have included ‘Monochrome’, ‘Poppies’ and Virgil’s ‘Georgics’. Her starting point is always with a sketchbook and ‘Uprooted’ is no exception; all her sketchbooks have been surprisingly popular at exhibitions. For this collection of hangings, individual pages from The List were printed onto cotton; she cut out stencils of refugees and both positive and negative images were painted onto the fabric; all the pieces were hand quilted. During the innumerable days spent hand stitching, Sabi could not but reflect on the lives that were lost. In too many cases these shadowy figures are all that is left of the men, women and children in The List.