Elise Vazelakis | Weaving Smiles

 “The crazy Gamcha lady”. This is what the local workers must have thought when Elise Vazelakis first approached them, offering to swap their old, used head wear for new one. Then, surprise led to curiosity and the Gamchas were exchanged, along with a few smiles.

With this first trade, American born and Dubai based artist developed a fascination for the workers’ colorful scarves, used as protection from heat and dust. Embarking on an exploration of Dubai’s labor camps, Elise began collecting Gamchas, until the idea of weaving them together came to her mind. After taking weaving classes back in LA and purchasing a Japanese loom, she started weaving her local treasures together.

The result? A collection of intricate works assembling Gamchas, intertwined with photographs of their owners – the men who built Dubai. And between the threads, Elise delivers a message: to acknowledge our surroundings and the people who form part of them. Because their smiles are beautifully genuine and their appreciation of small tokens of attention is as high as the towers they build.

More about Elise Vazelakis and The Gamcha Project

Photo credits
Images courtesy of Elise Vazelakis