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Tabitha Arnold: The People's Cathedral

September 8, 2023 - November 25, 2023

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Tabitha Arnold, Hot Labor Summer (2023), 34”x56” tufted rug.

Join us for Tabitha Arnold: The People's Cathedral, a solo exhibition and accompanying artist residency.

Tennessee-based artist Tabitha Arnold creates tapestries whose wordless stories celebrate workers, envision people power through protest, and whose artistic vision confers beauty upon the architectural spaces of the contemporary working experience. Through symbols of the serpent and angel, Arnold's work envisions a contemporary socialism animated by Christian imagery. Her work asks how good and evil, and what’s just and what’s wrong, shapes the lives and struggle of contemporary working people. Aren’t the workers themselves entitled to all their labour creates?

TABITHA ARNOLD makes labour-intensive art. Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, she studied painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, and later transitioned into a self-learned practice of weaving and punch needle tufting. Her meticulous, tactile tapestries resemble traditional embroideries and rugs, featuring spiritual imagery and historical art motifs on pieces as large as seven feet tall. The themes of Arnold’s work cover the radical past and ongoing struggle that threads all working people together. She’s inspired by the history of the labor movement, as well as her own direct experiences as a worker, organizer, and artist coming of age during a wave of unionization and class-consciousness.

Arnold’s textile practice has been profiled in Jacobin magazine and Hyperallergic. Her work features in print issues of the New York Review of Books and Lux Magazine, as well as on six covers of Dissent magazine. She is a 2023 MacDowell Fellow and has completed residencies at Cortex Frontal in Portugal, The Church in Sag Harbor, and Glen Foerd in Philadelphia. Arnold was included in the American Craft Council's 2022 Emerging Artist Cohort, and her work has been acquired by international collectors as well as the Boston Museum of Fine Art. She now lives and works in Chattanooga.

View exhibition essay by Michelle Fisher, Care/Work: Tabitha Arnold’s Art and Labor. Michelle Fisher is the Ronald C. and Anita L. Wornick Curator of Contemporary Decorative Arts within the Contemporary Art Department at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

View the interpretive Guide for All Ages created to accompany this exhibition.

Tabitha Arnold, Gospel (2023), 36”x54” tufted rug.

Join us for a series of ancillary programs presented in support of Tabitha Arnold: The People's Cathedral exhibition.

Opening Reception and Exhibition Walkthrough with Tabitha Arnold Friday, September 15, 2023, 7 - 9 pm 

Virtual Artist Workshop Thursday, October 12, 2023, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm EDT | REGISTRATION LINK AVAILABLE HERE

Contemporary Art Bus Tour Saturday, October 21, 2023, 1 - 5pm, in conjunction with Art Gallery of Burlington, Hamilton Artists Inc. and Tangled Art + Disability

WAHC wishes to acknowledge the Ontario Arts Council, the City of Hamilton, the Province of Ontario, CUPE National, the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario, the Canada Council for the Arts and OSSTF for their support of our exhibitions and ancillary programs.

For more information, please contact Sylvia Nickerson, Programming and Exhibitions Specialist, at (905) 522-3003 ex. 29 or sylvia@wahc-museum.ca

51 Stuart Street, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8L 1B5       905.522.3003       Public Hours: Click here