Silvi Naçi was born and raised in Albania for half of their life and didn’t come to understand thier own queer identity until years later when they moved to the States. When Naçi was young, their mother would say: “Don’t let anyone touch your flower! ”
The picnic tapestry Naçi created while in residency at Elsewhere Museum uses the flower-patterned fabric from the museum’s collection, a subtle nod to their mother’s advice. They wanted to create an object to inspire queer residents and community members to take time to share their coming out stories over delicious food, and lots of ‘flowers’. When Coming out to their family, Naçi was reminded of Albanian truisms like “this is how your cloth is cut” a metaphor around born queerness that is extended in the very fabric of the work.
Naçi hopes to create versions of this work as they travel to other residencies around the States and abroad making a patterned tapestry of the regions – connecting queer communities throughout the world and making a space for conversation around queerness and our multitude of identities. In the process, Naçi will record stories and compile them into a book of coming out experiences. The tentative title, “This Is Not a Phase” – takes back the narrative from heteronormative language that is often used to diminish queer experiences.
Relationships are nuanced, and by channeling their mother in this work, who despite her conservative outlook, Naçi still describes her as their rock. Naçi’s mother, a cook for over 30 years, inspired their desire to cook for people in different communities and invite them to a picnic. Sharing food and space together, Naçi wants to create a new habit of assembling and holding space for each other.
You are invited to check the tapestry out for the day. Speak with the museum staff to coordinate schedule. Tag your picnic stories on instagram @silvi.naci @elsewheremuseum
Learn more about the project here: http://www.goelsewhere.org/dont-touch-my-flower/