click to view

Sicilian Defense - 65" x 12"


This work makes reference to several cultural forms. African kubas are a type of raffia woven cloth, originally used as a type of wrap around skirt for women. Patches to cover worn areas developed into a style of decorative geometric patterning and often some skirts have a ruffled edging. Later raffia panels were used as trade and items of wealth. Sicilian Defense uses the elongated form, patterning and colors often associated with these beautiful skirts and panels and at the same time references the scroll narrative of Asian cultures. The bag that contains the scroll makes reference to Andean cocoa leaf bags as well as small purses from many ancient cultures. Both bag and scroll are multiselvedged and so have continuous warp structure. For more information on 4 selvedge weaving, see educational pages on
This tapestry records a chess game between Bobby Fisher and Tigran Petrosian using a strategy called Sicilian Defense. Each block of the background used the notations of Fisher’s moves as a dark brown on light and for Petrosian a light brown on dark. The symbols in each block can be view from 3 different angles (horizontal, upside down, and sideways) that allows the tapestry to be hung in different ways. The game begins on the top left to right when viewed horizontally and returns bottom right to left. The arrows on the borders help to show direction. Each chessboard shows an aspect of the game itself in visual form.
Symbols notation: In chess there are two forms of notation to record the moves of a game. The most common today in the US is the Algebraic system. The board is notated by “a” thru “h” across the beginning playing side and “1” thru “8” for the vertical side. Each piece on the board has a symbol: K= king, q=Queen, R=rook, B=bishop and N=knight. The pawn is simply designated by its position on the board. The notation for capture is x and for checkmate is +. Other notations can indicate poor (? or ??) or brilliant moves (! or!!) as well as castling (0-0 or 0-0-0)and passant (e.p).