Chutes and Ladders Installation

Despite a growing commitment to racial equity, the day-to-day experiences of women of color are not improving. Women of color face similar types and frequencies of disrespectful and “othering” behavior as they did two years ago before the Black Lives Matter movement galvanized worldwide.

Most days, I feel like I am scrambling to the top of Chutes and Ladders’, board game. For each step forward, take two steps back. Land on good deeds of allyship to climb ladders, but watch out for the haters, their passive aggressive chutes are a doozy and will send you tumbling down the ladder, to start the climb all over, again.

On view at Art150 studio #231, 2nd floor 150 Bay Street. Enter at 1st Street and Provost and ride the elevator up to the 2nd floor. My studio is on the Bay Street side of the building.

Chutes and Ladders is on display though the end of June and is a featured event for JCFridays Friday June 3rd from 6:00-9:00pm.

Chutes and Ladders

Vintage Gi Joe action figures, black metallic yarn, handmade eyelash yarn, black and brown cotton/rayon poly blend fabric, African printed fabric, vintage African fabric wrapped on recycled polyurethane spliced jungle gym rope netting.

 79 x 24 x 72 in

2022

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…

Mannequins In Progress

First woven layer on these two mannequins is complete. I’m working on a zip tie tunic for the floor model and rummaging through broken jewelry to sew onto the forms.

Free Your Mind

Free Your Mind is a collection of personal narratives. You are invited to share an personal experience with implicit bias to release this story from your personal narrative.

Later, I will weave your stories into the installation as a computer generated voice recording.  Motion sensors will trigger recordings when visitors interact with the installation.

Share your Story here

Free Your Mind

Free Your Mind is a public textile art project aiming to collect, exhibit, embed and release personal narratives about Microaggressions in a multi-sensory installation facilitated by artist Theda Sandiford.

Microaggressions are subtle, intentional — and oftentimes unintentional — everyday interactions or behaviors that communicate hostile, derogatory or negative 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.

This project intends to expose these interactions and provide a release for the participating individuals. Participants are invited to write a story about a microaggression they have experienced onto a ribbon and tie this ribbon onto a netto release this story from their personal narrative. This is a story ribbon.

The installation evolves with each new story ribbon, keeping a public record of disempowering interactions, that can be exposed and talked about. Participants have the feeling of being seen and acknowledged while interacting with the work. In the installation space, as visitors move throughout the space, motion sensors trigger monotone computer voice recordings of story ribbons.

In 2021 Free Your Mind toured, collecting story ribbons in Bayonne NJ, Jersey City NJ, Sunsets @ The Standard, Miami Art Week. In 2022 the installation will travel to ExpoChicago April 4-7 Navy Pier and will make stops in Brooklyn and Newark this year.

Free Your Mind
Free Your Mind – detail of Story Ribbons

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HOW TO PARTICIPATE

Interested individuals, institutions and businesses can support the project by engaging themselves and/or communities to collect story ribbons

SHARE YOUR STORY >>

Share a story about a microaggression you have experienced? How did it make you feel?

PARTICIPATE >> ONLINE HERE

OR MAIL STORY RIBBONS>>

Using a Sharpie, in two sentences (100 words max.) write your story on a ribbon

Mail your story ribbon to…

Project Free Your Mind c/o Sky Garden Gallery, 150 Bay St. PH9 Jersey City NJ 07302

Anonymous story ribbons and the textile artwork containing them will be shared on Instagram and www.thedasandiford.com.

Follow @misstheda and @skygardengallery on Instagram to get updates on this project and see your story in the installation.

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…