9 questions with Olivia Babel


Multicultural French artist Olivia Babel works around the question of territory and cartography, creating unique mural sculptures with textile materials and handweaving techniques.
With Suboart Magazine, Olivia talked about multiculturality, her creative process,
and her recent exhibition in Abu Dhabi.


For those who don’t know you, please present yourself briefly.

I am Olivia Babel, a French artist based in France. I have different origins around the word and I work around the question of territory.

Please tell us a bit more about your work.

I create fiber sculptures representing territories. My artworks are handwoven in my atelier in Lyon, France. I use loom to hand weave my pieces and use fiber materials like natural wool, golden fabric, cotton thread.

Desertic 2, 2022, Textile sculpture
Natural wool, shiny fabric, cotton thread
130 x 100 cm | 51 in x 39 in
100 hours of hand weaving
Wild Greenery, 2021, Textile sculpture
Natural wool, cotton thread
212 x 80 cm | 83 in x 32 in
100 hours of hand weaving

I read that you “create territories in all them forms in order to question our relation to environment.” How did you get into the topic of territories & why is it the theme that you’ve been choosing to work on?

In fact, I am French and I have different origins (Europe, Africa, Asia, South America…), my surname is Babel, like the tower, a metaphor of multiculturality. I wanted to work around a personal concept in relation with myself and my  identity. The notion of territory always was present in my head, I decided to develop it in my art. I am also very interested about environmental thematics and current changing in our world..

You work with textile materials and handweaving techniques- what fascinates you about these?

I have always been fascinated about textile and all possibilities to create that this medium offers. I felt in love with textile when I was a child, seeing my grandmother, who was an embroiderer, create these amazing embroidery stitches. I started to learn fiber art with her and continued at school at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux arts of Lyon, France and at the Ecole Supérieure des Beaux arts of Angers, France.

Golden World, 2022, Textile sculpture
Golden fabric, cotton thread
100 x 80 cm | 39 in x 31 in
50 hours of hand weaving
Desertic 1, 2022, Textile sculpture
Natural wool, golden fabric, shiny thread, cotton thread
150 x 135 cm | 59 in x 53 in
100 hours of hand weaving
France, 2021, Textile sculpture
Natural wool, fabric, shiny thread, cotton thread
240 x 250 cm | 94,5 in x 98,4 in
1000 hours of hand weaving

Please share some of your creative process with us, from an idea to a finished piece.

I start to create a drawing of the future piece. When it is done, I print it at the same size of the future piece. This drawing will be the model that will help me to weave the artwork. I put it under the piece in progress. It takes me around 2 weeks to create 10 square feet.

Creating and materializing your pieces seems to be such a manual, hands on process. How does weaving make you feel & what do you treasure about working manually, in a time where many artists work digitally?

This is a real passion and my personal way to create. I always been fascinated about textures, vibrations.

Handmade artworks are like treasure of savoir-faire and personal vibrations. I also think it’s a perfect complementary with digital world.

World Map, 2021, Textile sculpture
Natural wool, shiny thread, cotton thread
80 cm x 160 cm | 31 in x 63 in
50 hours of hand weaving
Olivia working on one of her sculptures

You recently exhibited in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Would like to share your experience from that exhibition?

My last exhibitions was amazing. It’s very satisfying for me to be able to present my art in art galleries that I like. My last solo show in Abu Dhabi, UAE was perfect. The process was really hard because I created 25 artworks in a short time but it was amazing and the curation was great! A lot of people appreciated the art pieces and I am very happy about this. I also have an other solo show in Dubai, UAE in May 2023. Can’t wait for that one, too!

Cyclone, 2021, Textile sculpture
Natural wool, cotton thread
190 x 140 cm | 75 in x 55 in
100 hours of hand weaving
Moon, 2021, Textile sculpture
Natural wool, cotton thread
150 x 150 cm | 59 in x 59 in
100 hours of hand weaving

What would be your advice for artists at the start of their career?

My advice will be to show their artworks. Communicate is very important to develop visibility and to have new collectors. I think it’s also important to make singular and differentiating art, develop one’s own visual identity, one’s own universe and own concept.

What are your hopes for the future?

More art, more artworks, more beauty!

Pink Heart, 2021, Textile sculpture
Natural wool, velvet fabric, cotton thread
125 x 120 cm | 49,2 in x 47,2 in
100 hours of work hand weaving
Get in touch
with Olivia:

Instagram: @oliviababel

All Photographs courtesy of
Olivia Babel
Written by Olivia Babel & Nina Seidel
Edited by Nina Seidel

© Copyright 2023 Suboart Magazine
All rights reserved

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