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…

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.

Work in Progress

I have been having surreal time lapsed dreams of making this work since May.

The net/weaving is 8’x6′ and weighs about 100LBs so far and I havent started wrapping beading or pulling zip ties on yet.