Hybridity, Fragmentation, and Translation in the Embroidered Sculptural Works of Ghada Amer

Master's Thesis


This thesis addresses Ghada Amer’s sculptures and installations through the concept of translation, investigating the moments of contradiction, fragmentation and miscommunication that result from the process of converting one sign system into another. It will also interrogate what is lost and what is gained in the process of translating information across cultural and gender divides. Amer, most well-known for embroidering images and text onto sculptural forms and canvasses, works with a number of languages, most commonly Arabic, French and English, and while she sometimes works with texts that have been previously translated by someone else, she most often assumes the role of translator herself. Moreover, in this role, she works not only with the written word, but also with visual language in the sense that she manipulates medium and form. For instance, Amer converts written text from the page into embroidered text on cloth, from ink to thread, and from book to fabric structure. This intermedial shifting changes both the original character of the letterforms and the context. In both visual and textual terms, Amer’s work thus addresses language’s instability, while her method of layering various sign systems on top of one another creates a multi-vocality that speaks to issues of cultural hybridity and the unpredictable processes of assimilation and acculturation. Through her use of translation and shifting across mediums and languages, Ghada Amer forces an integration, or interaction, between marginalized elements of text and culture, and the society by which they are surrounded.


Attribute NameValues
  • etd-04172008-141040

Author Sara L Method
Advisor Terri Weissman
Contributor Maria Tomasula, Committee Member
Contributor Terri Weissman, Committee Chair
Contributor Kathleen Pyne, Committee Member
Degree Level Master's Thesis
Degree Discipline Art, Art History, and Design
Degree Name MA
Defense Date
  • 2008-04-18

Submission Date 2008-04-17
  • United States of America

  • Ghada Amer

  • fragmentation

  • art

  • translation

  • embroidery

  • hybridity

  • identity

  • University of Notre Dame

  • English

Record Visibility Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

Departments and Units


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