Anna Torma’s Hand-Sewn Dreams

Installation view of Anna Torma: Permanent Danger (photo by Darren Rigo)

Angels, devils, dragons, and monsters are just a few of the unruly creatures that maraud across Anna Torma’s delightfully chaotic textiles. The Hungarian-Canadian artist’s multicolored, swirling scenes are filled with semi-clothed human-animal crossovers tangled together in curious acts of sex and mischief. Inspired by fairy tales, children’s drawings, Hungarian folklore, and medieval legends, Torma’s playful, hand-sewn worlds present an especially engrossing escape from the bleakness of everyday pandemic life.

Permanent Danger, the artist’s major solo show at the Textile Museum of Canada, showcases works from the last two decades of Torma’s 40-year career. The exhibition takes its title from a wall-sized 2017 tapestry covered with meticulously stitched, fire-breathing beasts. “You can feel the energy that’s bound up in these things,” exhibition curator and museum Curatorial Director Sarah Quinton said in a recent video call.

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