Free Your Mind Installation

by Theda Sandiford

Free Your Mind is a textile public art installation aiming to collect, embed and release personal narratives about Microaggressions.

Microaggressions are subtle, intentional — and oftentimes unintentional — everyday interactions or behaviors that communicate hostile, derogatory or negative racial messages or assumptions toward historically marginalized groups.

The weight of these daily interactions underpins very real consequences… stress, anger, frustration, self-doubt and ultimately feelings of powerlessness and invisibility.

Free Your Mind intends to expose these interactions and provide a release for the participating individuals. Participants have the feeling of being seen and acknowledged while interacting with the installation.

The installation evolves with each new ribbon, keeping a public record of disempowering interactions, that can be exposed and addressed.

Last year, Free Your Mind toured, collecting story ribbons in Bayonne NJ, Jersey City NJ, and during Miami Art Week. This summer at Governors Island, Free Your mind is documenting your story.

#freeyourmindart

You Are So Articulate

In this weaving, each piece of yarn is representative of a conversation where I was acknowledged for being able to express my thoughts and ideas. Being told I’m well-spoken often comes off as a backhanded compliment. It carries problematic connotations that, it is unusual for someone of my race to be intelligent or eloquent.

The completed weaving is displayed on a DYI loom, as if the work is still in progress because some version of this conversation, continues still…

You Are So Articulate, January 2021, 72 x 30 x 2 in, $4,000.00

Immersive Tag

The assignment… collage one iPhone photo, to pass the time while riding NJ Transit 123 bus from Union City NJ to NYC the summer of 2015.

Have you ever had someone put their hands in your hair without asking first?

This was a regular occurrence for me while riding the bus or subway… before the Pandemic. This is not ok. Please don’t pet me like a dog because my hair fascinates you.

Today, I rarely use public transportation and work mostly from home. I wonder, has social distancing caused a shift in this behavior?


“Immersive Tag” Digital photo collage printed on polysheer. 120 x 60 in, 2015

Blackty Black Blankets

Protective zip tie blankets draped on two 8 foot antique library ladders.

I know you are tempted to touch…

Purple Fiesta with Zipties

I added a zip tie blanket to Purple Fiesta and swooned. See before and after and tell me which one you like better.

Before

After

With ziptie blanket

Come see me at JCAST HQ

  • Friday (10/1) 4-7pm 
  • Saturday (10/2) 12-6pm 
  • Sunday (10/3)  12-6pm 

Come see me during at Art 150’s JCAST HQ, enter on the corner of 1st Street and Provost. Ride the elevator up to the second floor. There is lots to see and do.

I have three emotional baggage carts in Pro Art’s Reversed Engineered in the main gallery. One emotional baggage cart in Art House Production’s Renaissance. In the common area lobby you are invited to make strings of beads of recycled bottle caps and interact with my hair sculpture, All Dressed Up and Nowhere To Go.

I’ll be around the corner in Studio #231, working on Crossroads Jail Net.

There is plenty to see and collect including mini-baggage carts, affordable monoprints and ice dyed & printed tote bags.

Come see me.

JC Friday: I Am My Hair

  • September 10, 2021 6:00pm – 9:00pm

On Location: Art 150; 150 Bay Street, Jersey City NJ, Studio #231

Of Friday, September 10, I’m hosting my first open studio session in 18 months.

Audience participation is encouraged. Come wrap and hitch knot yarn onto rope to become a part of a hair installation and find a common denominator amongst us all, HAIR.

We are also making strings of beads made with recycled bottle caps in the 2nd floor common area of Art 150.

NOTE: Entrance lobby for the 2nd floor studios is separate from that for the residential units of 150 Bay and can be found at the NE corner of the building, at the corner of 1st St. and Provost St.

Recycle 2021

Exhibit On View: September 12 – October 17, 2021.

In-Person Opening Reception: Sunday, September 12, 2021, 12:00pm-6:00pm

On Location: 481 Van Brunt St Brooklyn, NY  11231

Bottle caps, neon yellow 550 paracord, 200′ neon yellow camo 850 paracord, hollow braided polyurethane rope, solar LED rope lights, recycled Fresh Direct bag and commercial fishing net, zip ties, gold spray paint on recovered shopping cart. Photo by April Tracey

I started calling this cart Wide Load before I was even conscious of how much of my emotional baggage is tied to the food I eat.


Don’t even think of visiting my Mom without her feeding you. I can still smell , vivid memories of being punishing for not eating my food and being reminded of the starving children in Africa. A double whammy of eat and feel guilty about eating. I could go on and on…

FIF 2021: Future Is Female

On View: September 1, 2021 – September 30th, 2021

On Location: 175 Pearl St, 5th Fl Brooklyn NY

The 3rd annual Future is Female exhibit, curated by sk.Artspace, aims to shed light on black women visual artists who persevered and became activists through their personal choices. The exhibition will highlight women, like me who unapologetically live their lives through action, women who had no intention of being a person of influence, yet raised the bar to lead, even when no one was looking – the “Unsung Shereos.”

I have three emotional baggage carts in the show, including my very first, Caution Baggage Cart.

Caution Baggage Cart

While working on my first shopping cart “Caution Baggage Cart” I was thinking about the people I had lost to Covid and the inability to properly mourn socially distant. I realized I was carrying a lot of emotional baggage related to fear of loss.

The cart needed some wheel repair and rust removal. Once sanded down, I spray painted the cart with gold and bronze paint left over from a previous project. The luscious gold wefts called to Caution tape that I had just foraged from the construction site across the street. I found just the right mix of fabric, paracord and yarns to complete the weave in my remnant stash.