Artist Theda Sandiford uses free-form weaving, coiling, knotting, and jewelry-making techniques to mold fiber and found materials into large, bold forms (both familiar and fantastical) like grocery carts, furniture, light fixtures, and tapestries. The materials are meticulously collected by the artist and donated from the community. They are transformed by their collective memory, becoming a “social fabric” that weaves together contemporary issues and personal narratives, particularly the artist’s own experiences with people touching or making comments about her hair.
“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 microaggressions as they did two years ago. The weight of these triggers underpin very real consequences: stress, anger, frustration, self-doubt, and ultimately feelings of powerlessness and invisibility. These triggers come with a hefty toll of emotional baggage… My Emotional Baggage Carts are vessels for this racial trauma. The act of making weaves the sting of daily microaggressions into the cart and frees me from these constraints.”
At the same time, Sandiford’s work invites the viewer, sometimes literally, to share and consider stereotypes, implicit bias, and microaggressions in their own lives as well as the lives of others. Triggered, Truth & Transformation presented a selection of Sandiford’s sculpture as well as an interactive installation and immersive multimedia experience in The Lab at KAC. Visitors not only had the opportunity to share personal microaggressions but also heard and saw the experiences of others. In each city where she exhibits, Sandiford observes patterns that illuminate biases both unique to that city and shared across the US.
Theda Sandiford is an award-winning mixed media artist based in Jersey City, New Jersey, who curates multi-disciplinary experiences in order to create a safe space for exploring themes such as equity and inclusion, sustainability, and personal well-being. Sandiford 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. She 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 the 2022 Jersey City Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship.
Artwork by Theda Sandiford. Banner image: I Can’t Breathe – Emotional Baggage Cart, 2021. CPAP tubing, solar rope lights, gold 550 paracord, zip ties, and gold spray paint on recovered shopping cart.
Inline image: Artist Theda Sandiford.
Learn more about the work on view during special tours, artist talks, and virtual events, some of which require advance registration. See all exhibition programs by clicking here.
THANK YOU 2023 EXHIBITION SPONSORS
98.3 THE COAST, BOULEVARD INN & BISTRO, HONOR CREDIT UNION, PELLA WINDOWS & DOORS OF NORTHWEST INDIANA, RMB CAPITAL, STARKS FAMILY FUNERAL HOME & CREMATION SERVICES, SILVER BEACH PIZZA, STORAGE OF AMERICA, TYLER AUTOMOTIVE, THE JOHN DeVRIES INSURANCE AGENCY, KRUGGEL LATWON CPAs, TABOR HILL WINERY & RESTAURANT