The need for wrapping is innate to humans. Human experience begins with an act of wrapping in gestation and unwrapping from the placenta through birthing, which is immediately followed by the practice of rewrapping or swaddling. In many cultures, that first act of swaddling babies introduces them to society.
My work incorporates the use of and the critical analysis of African Trickster’s multilayered characters and revelations to re-imagine the act of wrapping, to expose and to heal the racial conditioning of Black people in the United States. I explore the ethnography of wrapping cultures, pay attention to the constitution of the materiality of wrapping —that anthropologists call encapsulating objects (the container, the vessel) and encapsulated objects (the content, the relics)— and examine the symbolism embedded in such materiality and their interpretations. I re-imagine a “Second Skin” where every wrapping loop is an examination of the human conditioning that boxes people according to race (and skin color), education, economic status, religion, and neighborhood (redlining) to the point where, the actant loses, doubts, and questions their own identity, humanity, and values.
This wrapping exercise, repeated hundreds of times over creates structures, shapes and forms as a pathway/camouflage/mask to enter the world of the African Trickster to redress our narratives. Densely packed sculptures created with discarded materials, fabrics (silk, cotton, wool, nylon), yarn, and small household furnishings, transient transformations into entities with magical skins - “The Second Skin” - that vibrate to tell their own stories. They are shaped by DNA imprints of people from across space and time, who have performed similar actions and movements for generations.