Material Resistance – 2022 Cornell Biennial


Exhibition and Workshop: Material Resistance:
Social Justice and Empowerment Narratives Told Through Cloth
Curated by Dyese Matthews (FSAD), Jenine Hillaire (AIISP), Kat Roberts (FSAD), Ami Tamakloe (Anthropology)
  • Nov 7-Dec 2, 2022
  • Jill Stuart Gallery
  • Nov 11, 2022
  • Johnson Museum

“Material Resistance: Social Justice and Empowerment Narratives Told Through Cloth” is an exhibition that utilizes fashion and other fiber arts to tell the stories of communities that have historically been marginalized. This exhibition aims to critically contribute to the larger, ongoing conversations on equity, resistance, and liberation, while simultaneously humanizing the surplus of struggles related to social justice.

Va-Bene Elikem Fiatsi, Ghana: In collaboration with The LGBT Rights Ghana and Dramaqueens, Va-Bene will be leading a community art project that uses texts and images on handkerchiefs to situate stories of humanity and citizenship of queer people in Ghana. These stories will be mounted as part of the exhibition.

Dr. Tameka Ellington, USA: “Sis Alligator Meets Trouble” is a one-of-a-kind piece created by designer and researcher Dr. Tameka Ellington (CF+TC 2022.03.001). The gown is inspired by the tale “Bruh Alligator Meets Trouble,” a story originating among the Gullah Geechee people, African Americans who live in the southeastern region of the United States, and retold by author Virginia Hamilton. This unique dress was draped and then cut from leather and includes design elements referencing significant themes in the story.

Va-Bene Elikem Fiatsi, Ghana: Pronoun: “sHit” if not “she.” Born 1981 in Ho, Ghana, Va-Bene Elikem Fiatsi [crazinisT artisT] works internationally but lives in Kumasi, Ghana. sHit is a multidisciplinary “artivist”, curator, mentor, and the founder and artistic director of perfocraZe International Artists Residency (pIAR) which is aimed at promoting exchange between international and local artists, activists, researchers, curators, and thinkers. As a performer and installation artist, crazinisT investigates gender stereotypes, prejudices, queerness, identity politics and conflicts, sexual stigma, and their consequences for marginalized groups or individuals. With rituals and a gender-fluid persona, sHit employs sHit’s own body as a thought-provoking tool in performances, photography, video, and installations, ‘life-and-live-art’ confronting issues such as disenfranchisement, social justice, violence, objectification, internalized oppression, anti blackness, systemic indoctrination, and many more.

crazinisT has performed and exhibited across the globe including countries such as Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, Switzerland, South Africa, Germany, Netherlands, Cape Verde, USA, Spain, Brazil, France, and UK. sHit has also been featured in several, publications and magazines such as the I-D Vice London, I-D Vice Dutch, Financial Times, King Kong Magazine, CCQ London, Miami Rails, ‘Freeflowingvisuals’, TRT WORD Film Documentary, This is Africa, Art Ghana, Lost At E Minor, CNN, The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Die Tageszeitung (TAZ), Horizonte da Cena, Radio FRO, etc.

Dr. Tameka Ellington, USA: Dr. Tameka is the CEO and Founder of the 1st Generation Revolutionaries movement. Not only is she an internationally acclaimed and awarded educator and scholar, Dr. Tameka is a motivational speaker, professional development strategist, and 1st generation student advocate. Her creative scholarship is inspired by African art and folklore. Her work has been shown internationally including two exhibitions in Beijing, China. She publishes research in the discipline of social-psychological aspects of dress for African Americans and other minorities, such as people with disabilities. Her publications on hair have reached national and international recognition via peer-reviewed journals as well as dress and culture encyclopedias. One of her most recent projects is the internationally acclaimed and awarded exhibition she co-curated entitled, “TEXTURES: the history and art of Black hair,” which opened at the Kent State University Museum in Fall 2021. In partnership with Himer Publishing, “TEXTURES: the history and art of Black hair,” the exhibition catalogue was also published and has received numerous awards. Her final academic publication will be with Kent State University Press for an anthology she authored and edited entitled, “Navigating the Black Hair Phenomenon in a White World.”

Agnes Woodward, Canada

Kate Sekules, USA

Sylvia Hernandez, USA

Social Justice Sewing Academy, USA

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