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Tracey Emin: A Name They Called Our Dad - Embroidery

A Name They Called Our Dad

Tracey Emin


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Embroidery, 2002
Embroidery Edition of 15

Joe Syer

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Critical Review

Born in Croydon, south London, Emin was brought up in Margate, on the coast of Kent. Her parents never married as her father had a whole other separate and legally binding family elsewhere.

The artist’s work takes refuge in her art to deal with past and present obstacles, exploring the twists and turns of Emin’s personal life. Stylistically, the primary source of inspiration for the artist’s Childhood grouping are expressionist masters Edvard Munch and Egon Schiele. Their legacies offer an attractive element of catharsis for the intimate and confrontational nature of Emin’s creations. This collection of artworks has utilised two methods that command the strongest associations of domesticity and the feminine; the drawn and the embroidered.

Beneath the simplistic and traditional appearance, one finds stories about transgenerational trauma and the complexities of an intercontinental upbringing. A Name They Called Our Dad presents a diptych of two perspex box frames. On one side we find an embroidery of a petite red flower with a green stem and petals, while the other side of the work is adorned by Emin’s cursive handwriting. The text deals directly with the immigrant identities of Emin’s parents, her father’s particularly, presenting the artist’s innocent take on notions of otherness and belonging.

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