Embroidery artist-model Sheena Liam’s Solidarity has been shortlisted for The Fine Art Textiles Award (FATA) in Britain, an international award recognising high-calibre works of art in textiles, cloth and thread.
A place on the shortlist also means her work will also be part of a touring exhibition series in England in the next few months.
Known for her minimalistic outlines of feminine figures in slice-of-life scenes, the 32-year-old Liam took to her Instagram to announce the news.
“Of course this would not be made possible without the help of the Baltic Ballet Theater (from Lithuania) and their ballerinas,” she adds in the caption, thanking the models for their contribution to the piece, which she mentions is the first in a series.
Starkly monochrome, Solidarity features hand embroidered ballerinas holding each other up, with their hair – tidily braided in Liam’s signature 3D style – bringing the piece to life.
The piece will be on display as part of the FATA exhibition at The Festival of Quilts, Europe’s largest patchwork and quilting event, Aug 3-6 at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, followed by The Knitting and Stitching Shows in London (Oct 5-8) and Harrogate (Nov 16-19).
For the award, two winners will be selected by a panel of judges comprising experts from a variety of disciplines with a deep appreciation of textiles: the overall winner is the most outstanding piece of fine art, while another will be awarded for the “Most Innovative Use of Textiles”. The winning works will be awarded £5,000 (RM28,934) and £500 (RM2,893) respectively.
Born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Liam is now based in Penang with her Lithuanian spouse, fellow artist Ernest Zacharevic, known for his street murals and environmental art activism.
Taught by her mother, Liam initially took up embroidery as a means to pass the time while travelling and waiting on set at modelling shoots. Since starting to share her art publicly in 2017, Liam’s works have explored self-portraits and the personal themes of womanhood and Asian identity.