Although must of us put cotton against our skin almost everyday, in the form of socks and T-shirts, the story of cotton is far from everyday, which is why it has been turned into an extensive exhibition at the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester.
Cotton: Global Threads, which opens tomorrow, gives a global history of the production, consumption and trade in cotton, featuring pieces from the Middle Ages to the present day. New commissions by contemporary artists, including Yinka Shonibare and Lubaina Himid, will hang alongside the gallery's permanent textile collection.
"Cotton is the best-selling and most widely used fibre in the world. Its manufacture has exposed both the promise and the perils of global capitalism, and no other industry is so closely associated with the exploitation of human labour - from the slave plantations of the US and Marx and Engels’ ‘satanic mills’ of Lancashire to the garment factories of South China today," curator Jennifer Harris said.
"We want to use this exhibition to tell its important story, not only from an artistic perspective, but also economically and ethically."
From 11 February to 13 May 2012, www.manchester.ac.uk/whitworth