Our thanks to Touchstone Center for Crafts for their support of the Free Your Mind Exhibit
Free Your Mind – Public Textile Social Justice Art Project, an interactive exhibit with Theda Sandiford, in the Marketplace
Learn more about the exhibit at Theda’s lecture for MAFA Virtual on March 28, 2023, at 7 p.m. Eastern. Lectures are free. Register to attend on Lessonface.
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.
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 exposes these interactions to provide a release for the viewer. Participants are invited to write a story about a microaggression they have experienced onto a ribbon and tie this ribbon onto a net to 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 reflected upon. Participants have the feeling of being seen and acknowledged while interacting with the work.
In 2021 Free Your Mind toured, collecting story ribbons in Bayonne, NJ, Jersey City, NJ, and at “Sunsets” at The Standard during Miami Art Week. In 2022 Free Your Mind was at Art Crawl Harlem’s Governors Island house from May- August and in Indianapolis. The project will make stops in Brooklyn, Newark and at MAFA in 2023.
Info about other installations can be found on the Free Your Mind Exhibit page on Theda’s website.
Theda Sandiford is an award-winning self-taught fiber and installation artist based in Jersey City, NJ.
Using racial trauma as a starting point, Theda juxtaposes various fibers with a variety of found materials using free form weaving, coiling, knotting, crochet, and jewelry making techniques. Meticulously collected materials and community donations, transformed by their collective memory become “social fabric,” weaving together contemporary issues and personal narratives.
Community art making is key to her process. Theda curates’ multi-disciplinary experiences pairing people, sound and art making to create a safe space to explore themes such as equity & inclusion, sustainability, and personal wellbeing.
Theda has shown extensively nationwide; including Expo Chicago, Untitled Art Fair, SPRING/BREAK ART SHOW, Governor’s Island, New Jersey Arts Annual and American Contemporary Craft: National Juried Exhibition. Theda received Excellence in Fibers VI from Fiber Art Now, the 2020 Jersey City Arts, Visual Artist Award, the 2021 Fellowship in Craft from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and 2022 Jersey City Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship.