all my clothes that no longer fit me is an installation piece made in 2017, where I process the struggle of getting dressed in the morning. After gaining a significant amount of weight while in graduate school, getting dressed often became a trigger and a reminder of my once skinnier body. This work was a bit of grieving, a way to speak a challenge out loud to others, and most importantly, a turning point in my own journey of body acceptance.
Black and white video stills hang across a metal garment rack above the large pile of clothes from my closet that no longer fit. At the time, I was unable to part with them, as it meant accepting my weight gain. Below, you can see the 12 stills that hung across the rack.
all my clothes
that no longer fit me
Written Portraits (2016)
ink on paper
From left to right: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Alice Walker, Maya Angelou
He's Gotta Protect Himself (2016)
soapbox hand-constructed from wood, image transfers, paint, sharpie, flowers
My first year as a teaching artist at the Baltimore United Viewfinders, one of my students was an 11-year old boy who we will call Q. Q was smaller than all the other kids his age and probably the most critical thinker of the bunch. He knew his people's history and was always looking to bring Black Power into his art.
One day, I was picking up the youth from school, and Q pulled out a kitchen knife from his pocket to show me. I asked what he was doing with that. He told me, "I brought this to protect us." The following week, he had a pellet gun with him for the same reason. Q and I talked about what could happen if the wrong person him saw him carrying a weapon. He already knew the risk. A friend who happened to be teaching with me that day suggested we spray paint the pellet gun to make it more obviously a toy. Q liked that idea.
During the time this happened, the youth and I were working through a curriculum about identity. One project was making our own soapboxes. My conversations with Q were consuming my thoughts at the time, and I made my soapbox in response. It is called, "He's gotta protect himself."
I spoke with his mom about my concerns for Q, who was clearly fearful of his neighborhood, and later found out their solution was to enroll Q in boxing. I loved that idea.
Various Drawings (2013-2015)
Migrant Mother Reimagined (2013)
digital photograph of image projected on nude body