Photographer - Visual Artist


“Fabrics of Exile" is a collaborative project developed with thirteen women who frequent the EXIL mental health service, and photographers and visual artists Romane Iskaria and Maëlle Helias, supported by a team of professionals from the EXIL association.

To root ourselves in the present and weave connections between each group member, we explored our "safe place" through photography and textiles. The fabrics may be those of our everyday life, the ones we wish to wrap ourselves in for protection, or to evoke a particular memory. Over the course of our sixteen workshops, each woman, drawing from her personal story, came to seek out, rediscover, create, weave, and sew her own textile composition.

Using photography, Romane, with Maëlle's collaboration, took portraits of these women merging with their creations, transforming into backgrounds for photographic studios. Listening to factual stories, desires for elsewhere, and wishes for the here and now, she already plays, in these captured moments, the blur between reality and imagination. Throughout the workshops, armed with disposable cameras, the women captured images of their "safe havens" in their Brussels daily life. From these shots, Maëlle introduced workshops on cyanotypes on fabrics, an ancient photography process invented by Anna Atkins in 1843.

Featuring: Ayshat, Béatrice, Eugénie, Ido, Jasmine, Kameta, Marcianne, Mariam, Melha, Nexmije, Marciane, Arguita, Aissatou, Snoussia, Egzona.
Romane Iskaria, photographer and visual artist.
Maëlle Helias, photographer and artist working in support and care environments.

Doctors, psychologists, and social workers supporting the group of women during the workshops: Claire Vuylsteke, Maria-Gladys Busse, Jeanne Swanna.
A partnership established with EXIL and also the Tiny Gallery, to bring forth the voices of immigrant women through art.

2024 Tissus d’exil, Tiny-Gallery Brussels (Belgium)