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Tapestry at Cinquantenaire arch for International Women's Day

15:41 25/02/2020

A 120m² tapestry will be unfurled in the central arcade of the Cinquantenaire arch on Sunday 8 March to celebrate International Women's Day.

Brazilian artist Elen Braga has hand-tufted the rug from 200kg of wool donated by Belgian businesses.

Started in October 2018, and finished last month, the 24-metre-tall self-portrait entitled 'Elen or Hubris' took the artist 2,184 hours to complete - between five and seven hours per day.

The piece shows the artist standing on a pedestal in a triumphant pose facing the city. It reflects the monumentality of the arch, a characterisation of the excess, the arrogant pride and the disproportion that was the Greek notion of hubris.

The piece boldly demands an accrued visibility in the urban landscape, up to now dominated by a monumental and patriarchal order.

Braga self-initiated this project, which was then supported by the Institut Supérieur pour l’Etude du Language Plastique (ISELP) which welcomes artist-researchers for three-month residencies three times a year.

International Women's Day is celebrated on 8 March every year. A focal point in the movement for women's rights, it was first organised in New York City in 1909 by the Socialist Party of America.

It was predominantly celebrated by the socialist movement and in communist countries until it was adopted by the feminist movement in 1967 and then by the United Nations in 1975.

The piece will be on display from 13.00 to 17.00 on Sunday 8 March.

Photos: Jules Toulet

Written by Richard Harris