Sophie Utikal

Sophie Utikal (1987, USA) was born the same year Gloria E. Anzaldúa “Borderlands”. Since then she has lived in many places and graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna in 2019. Today she lives and works in Berlin, Neukölln. In her work, Utikal combines textile fragments to create self-portraits in large-scale fabric paintings where the black thread remains visible- a sewing technique used across generations by the women in her family in Colombia. Her use of textiles to represent the negative form of her body combines with Anzaldúa’s method of autohistory. Tears, waterfalls, rivers and oceans permeate her bodies to tell stories based on traumatic but also pleasant experiences of migration and self-empowerment as a woman of colour in Germany. Starting from a decolonial perspective, her textile works are dedicated to forms of unfolding bodily knowledge that go beyond rationality such as feeling, perceiving and being. She is constantly searching for a new consciousness that includes the body as an actor in a possible healing process.