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.
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…
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?
Blackty Black Blankets
Protective zip tie blankets draped on two 8 foot antique library ladders.
I know you are tempted to touch…