Claire Aitken was born and raised in Victoria BC, enjoying the lush West Coast landscape. Following graduation from high school, Claire enrolled at the University of Victoria and completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Arts. During her studies, Claire focussed solely on studio portraiture and volunteered her time to a number of local galleries including Fifty-Fifty Arts Collective and Deluge Contemporary Arts. After graduation, Claire gained employment at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria as the Art Rental and Sales Consultant, supervising the Massey Sales Gallery within the AGGV. During her time in this position, Claire oversaw sales, rentals, exhibition installations and public art installations while managing the work over 150 artists. In addition to these responsibilities, Claire acted as the Artist Liaison for the 2017 TD Art Gallery Paint In, coordinating 175 local artists. In 2017, Claire moved to the University of Victoria to begin work as the Graduate Portrait Photographer for the University’s marketing department. In 2019, Claire went back to school to pursue her second degree. Currently, she is finishing a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in Art History and Visual Studies, Honours, and Religious Studies; and a Diploma in Cultural Resource Management from the University of Victoria.
Couture Meets Heritage in the Fashion of Chinese Designer Guo Pei
Chinese couturiere Guo Pei uses Imperial Chinese iconography to reinvent tradition using the millenia old art of embroidery to engage her audience. By acting as a cultural steward, the result is a reawakening and reinterpreting of “women’s craft”. Through subversion of traditionally male iconography and applying it to women’s haute couture, Guo Pei ventures to redefine deeply embedded cultural practices, including uprooting Confucian concepts of sexual segregation. Not only does Guo Pei thrust female craft and form into the spotlight, she does so by employing engendered male images to modern day, textile practices, deeply rooted in historically female embroidery practices. Guo Pei is famous for re-training women in the art of Chinese embroidery that was once lost during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. This paper seeks to explore Guo Pei’s vast and rich historical sources of inspiration, her reinterpretation of Chinese ideals of beauty and her cultural impact on women in textiles throughout Asia.