Remember Rana Plaza

Installed January 2024

A sculpture by Mia Mai Symonds commemorating the Rana Plaza disaster of 2013

2023 marks ten years since the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh, 2013. Rana Plaza was an eight-story commercial building that housed five garment factories which collapsed, killing over 1,100 people and injuring approximately 2,500 others.

The structural failure of the Rana Plaza building was a direct result of the social failure for its garment workers. The hundreds of subsequent deaths and life-long injuries were a direct result of the mistreatment of, and lack of care for, factory workers at the bottom of the supply chain within the textile and apparel industry.

Remember Rana Plaza was designed to mirror the social injustice rooted within the collapse through an exploration of form and material. Merging both concrete and textiles, the two core materials which envelop this historic tragedy, this sculpture considers the relationship between the factories’ material foundations, both internal and external, and their impact on the bodies and lives that laid trapped between them.

Remember Rana Plaza was made to acknowledge and commemorate the lives lost amongst the rubble and cloth whilst hopefully reigniting dialogue surrounding the causes of this tragic event, and reflecting on what has or has not changed in the ten years that have passed.

The sculpture was commissioned by Sunny Bank Mills and is now a permanent installation on the site’s Weavers’ Lawn.

About the artist

Mia Mai Symonds (b.1997) is an interdisciplinary artist and researcher working primarily across weaving, sculpture and installation.

Through a critically, socially and materially engaged approach to research of woven textiles, Mia is dedicated to uncovering this everyday material’s emotional potency, value, political ecologies, and capacity to trace human experiences across time and place. With intersectional feminist theory at the heart of her research, Mia’s work is formed around notions of memory, sensory experiences, archived information, knowledge exchange, identity and social injustice.