The project deals with familial ‘herstories’ and womens’ tangled identities in Uzbekistan. It starts with the object that my great-grandmother, Oybibi, owned. Her name translates as "the Moon dame," and her dowry, which was a large piece of traditional Suzani embroidery of the Jizzakh region, depicted 9 celestial bodies—moons—placed in a 3x3 grid-like shape. The embroidery was cut into pieces and distributed amongst the many strands of my extended family when I was a child. My part of the family was left with two parts that have now become the starting point for the installation.
This creative reconstruction of this dowry piece uses the missing ‘moons’ as structural points that depict different experiences of the women in the family since the 1920s till now. The loose pieces containing a mixture of hand-stitched embroidery techniques and local canons are connected with threads—creating a non-hierarchical genealogical tree, a rhizome of relations. The untold histories of women in Central Asia—stories that unveil struggles with colonialism, religion, ideology and patriarchal ways in what is now Uzbekistan—are depicted through dream-like imagery induced by a child's vivid imagination of these spoken herstories.
A hidden layer of digital reality further explores the connections, and, as a form, emphasises the invisibility of these women's experiences. The website contained detailed stories of women featured in the piece, and the augmented reality experience allows the viewer to explore photographic archives and immerse themselves in 360-degree environments.