Pippa Hetherington

Interlaced – The Dress

Fabric, wire, military buttons, lace and clay pigment

1500 x 540 x 1500 mm

Courtesy Spier Collection

ippa Hetherington’s departure point for the Interlaced Portrait series is of shared history from the Eastern Cape, South Africa, and what the universal engagement between an inherited past and reconciliation with one’s own present can be. Inspired by the materiality of artworks and personal histories of artists from the Keiskamma Art Project in relation to her own, she uses photography and textile as a way of questioning the role of image making in truthful history-telling and asks what may be cloaked, revealed, or hidden.  


For Hetherington, people are a collage of stories – a matrix of past, present and future – interwoven. 

Interlaced – The Dress may be considered a self-portrait that Hetherington produced. Here she takes the personal into the communal and collective by juxtaposing African shweshwe and colonial English fabric and uses found shards of British crockery and military buttons excavated from the 100-year war (1779 – 1878), also known as the Eastern Cape Wars of Dispossession. 


Once the dress was completed, she invited friends to be part of her process. Each of the protagonists is wearing, in their own way, the same garment; Interlaced – The Dress.   The dress is transformed through the characters, each of them adding their own layer onto the meaning of the fabric.