Tapestry of Disaster, Tower One

Accession Number AWM2016.162.2
Collection type Art
Measurement Overall - Conservation: 153 mm x 338 mm x 51 mm - framed
Object type Textile
Physical description cotton cross stitch
Maker Cordeiro, Sean
Healy, Claire
Date made 2012
Conflict Afghanistan, 2001-2021
Iraq, 2003-2013

Item copyright: AWM Licensed copyright


Tapestry of Disaster, Tower One, 2012 is an image from the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre, which have greatly shaped the world and numerous conflicts since. The work memorialises this devastating event and its vast political fallout, which includes Australia’s military commitment to Afghanistan, Iraq and now Syria.

There are three tapestries in this series, each individual work explores more specific histories/legacies related to conflicts since the Vietnam War. In transposing these events into the medium of a tapestry, which is a time-intensive task, the artists undergo an act of commemoration of the tragedy of the imaged event. The Tapestry of Disaster series, as a whole, explores how fossil fuels, and petroleum fuel in particular, are rapidly consumed in our contemporary age, which has led to enormous wealth and development throughout the world but also immense global instability. The artists are interested in how petroleum fuel has many relationships to conflict.

Tapestries across various histories and cultures have been used to record important events, including representations of battles, and cultural and religious practices. Healy and Cordeiro replace these traditional scenes with images of explosions only. Viewed in this context the artists encourage a contemplative perspective on our highly violent and destructive epoch.