The Black Gold Tapestry
October 7, 2017 - May 2018

By Sandra Sawatzky
Organized by Glenbow

Nine-years in the making, Sandra Sawatzky’s 220-foot hand-embroidered The Black Gold Tapestry tells the story of how oil has impacted human civilizations around the world, from bitumen bubbling up in the waterways and marshes of Iraq 5,000 years ago to the enormous influence of oil on the global economy today. Examining how oil and natural gas have fueled human ingenuity, progress, warfare, disaster, prosperity and commerce across the globe, The Black Gold Tapestry highlights fascinating vignettes from the past and the present that will surprise and even delight viewers of this truly epic project.




“The runaway hit The Black Gold Tapestry by Sandra Sawatzky has blown away many a visitor.”

- Glenbow Museum

THIS. THING. IS. HUGE. 67 meters huge. The Glenbow needed over 5 walls to show the whole tapestry and I wish I could have spent more time going over every detail. I'm not an embroiderer in any sense, but HO---LY CRAP was this amazing to look at. It gives you the sense that you're looking at some ancient piece of history.”

- ArtSlug Blog

Seeing the tapestry in person is highly recommended. No matter how high the resolution, or how vivid the colours, no picture or video image does this piece justice.”

- Resource

More than simply illustrating a complex global history, The Black Gold Tapestry raises questions about how our international community is moving towards our energy future — one that is both uncertain and exciting.”


It’s easy to get wrapped up in the beauty and sheer ambition of Black Gold Tapestry.”

- Calgary Herald

“The Black Gold Tapestry, like the Bayeux Tapestry, is unique in its time. It is epic. It is beautiful. It is political.”

- GalleriesWest

The Black Gold Tapestry is breathtaking. The colours are stunning. Most articles start by talking about either the size or the story, and both of those are worth discussing, but it is the beauty of it that grabs the viewer from a distance.”

- The Green Party Magazine Arts and Culture

Although I was in awe from a distance at the size and scale of this art object, I immediately stepped forward for a much closer lookThe Black Gold Tapestry might be one of the most significant modern STEAM projects exhibited.”

- Genome Alberta.

“The Black Gold Tapestry dramatically shifts the popular perception of embroidery from the quietly domestic to the assertively public."

- Preview Guide to Galleries +Museums