Floral Embroidery Stiched Into Used War Helmets Contrast War and Peace
Among today's artists who are creatively pushing the boundaries of embroidery, Lithuanian talent Severija Inčirauskaitė-Kriaunevičienė is one to watch. She stitches flowers and other sweet depictions into metal objects like pans, pails, and car hoods to subvert traditional embroidery culture, juxtaposing the tough and rusty against the soft and cozy. Her newest series won the award for Best Installation at ArtVilnius'16 earlier this month, and it might be her most evocative yet. Titled Killed(ed) for Peace, it comprises delicate pansies, roses, and daisies sewn into the punctures of authentic antique war helmets.
The collection is named after a popular song by a New York rock band called The Fugs, released in 1966 in the midst of the Vietnam War. According to songwriter Tuli Kupferberg, the satirical tune was inspired by the seeming hypocrisy of the "pray for peace" messaging that the American government used in its mail cancellation announcements while simultaneously waging a brutal international crusade. The song's chipper melody grates against its gruff lyrics—a startling symbolic contrast that Inčirauskaitė-Kriaunevičienė re-imagines in her 3D visual format.
The artist's helmets are artifacts from numerous wars, including World War I, World War II, and a recent Ukrainian conflict. Against this rugged battle gear, the dainty, decorative embroidery questions the interaction between human violence and harmony, pitted head to head.