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  • Black Well Red Thread

Future Blanket-2420

Updated: Oct 4, 2020

"Time moved so slowly, passing up, over and under. Red thread slipping through, much like lifetimes, stories and histories. Uderences of people, times, places, and scents I never knew; but wait and move in my marrow. I was surprised how many I have, that feeling of untethered and abandoned slips away with each passing as this work works on me. I have so many voices bellowing and blinding my ears, singing reverberations in the sound, shattering isolation. A chorus of stars running through the desolation, I never knew they were all mine, and I, theirs. I could feel an understanding move from my belly, traveling down my face (their face)... all their stories, sacrifices, and how hard their road was. It wasn't lost on me, I swear." - Shameka

This week we have been working on "Future Blanket-2420, " an installation that is being installing at the SPSCC Gallery. We will be doing the finishing touches today, and it will go live Monday. We, with help made 4094 twelve foot long red threads. Here is the artist statement.

Black Well and Well Thread - Future Blanket 2420


We have been in community and conversations for years, and our relationship has become a kinship. Over the last two and a half years we have been meeting specifically to workshop our individual art practices. We are mothers, partners, teachers, and creatives who work in multiple disciplines. Within our circle we have found many layers of commonality that feeds and drives our work. This has gifted us with a depth of collective engagement when approaching each other's work. Within this container we have formed a collective and installed our first collaboration as Black Well Red Thread Collective. A huge part of our praxis is community engagement and place based practice; whether that takes place in the future, in honoring our ancestors or within the various intersections we walk. Our hope is to create pathways to new possibilities, remedies, and future - in collaboration.

Artist Statement: Black Well and Red Thread Collective - Future Blanket 2420

Our Wildest Dreams,

A little over a month ago we saw a post on our current (August, 2020) social media platform. @life_as_ceremony shared an image entitled “Ancestral Mathematics'' which stated “ For you to be born today from 12 previous generations, you needed a total of 4094 ancestors over the past 400 years.” We felt profoundly shaken by this new understanding, as we have felt individual, disconnected, and untethered in our experience as human beings. This sense of disconnection is due to colonization, the undermining of our ancestral connections, the patriarchy, and capitalism. It was from this place that we were inspired to create something that would make this sense of connection tangible. To get this feeling of connection into our bodies we made long red threads spanning twelve feet. With the thread we walked back and forth, each pass signifying one life’s journey. At times we passed the thread between us to shorten the distance. As we worked we noticed this reinforced a new understanding about just how connected we are. We strive to have this knowledge transform our understanding so deeply that it transfers to future generations, and is a gift to our ancestors who held this wounding as well. After we reached 4094 red threads we cut and braided them into bundles to be hung in a public space.

In our time, in our community, there are spaces where we are underrepresented. An elder named Momma Tee arrived in our community almost five years ago. She went to City Council meetings, the local colleges, and even met with the mayor to find the people. The mayor said there were no Black artists and very little artists of color in what is now Olympia, Wa USA (the traditional unceded territories of the Squaxin Island and Nisqually Peoples: coordinance 47.0379N -122.9007W.) Over the last two years Momma Tee has worked to find artists, and performers, and bring us together to celebrate. These spaces are so healing and vital. The 4094 threads are being seen and witnessed in this space.

During the viewing, conversations happened between artists and art works, interfacing with stories and generations—reverberating connections that those threads represented. . . At the end of the viewing, the threads were gathered up and braided again to be woven into the blanket that now enfolds you, our future children’s, children’s, children’s, children’s, children’s, children’s, children’s, children’s, children’s, children’s, children’s, children’s, children. We hope and pray this finds you in a place where you are protected, connected, nourished, and free— that you are surrounded by community, wise family, and health, and that you know who you are. We pray you have a life that is filled with purpose, and you live in balance with the things that support your life.

Love you through space and timeAisha, Cholee, and Shameka

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