WORKSHOP: MATERIAL CULTURE AND THE ETHNOLOGY OF WRAPPING
"The simple act of wrapping cloth around a stone, or an idol or a person transforms them into a manifestation of the Gods."
When I started wrapping and making bundles as artwork and part of my studio practice, it was motivated by my childhood memories, in making toys (including dolls) out of sticks and discarded materials and from doing my four sisters’ hair. I remembered begging my sisters and any visiting relatives to do their hair - they would refuse. Not only is combing the hair for the wrapping a painful process, but also the first two or three days after the hair-do is done, the scalp is all sore from the tightness of the wrapping. This wrapping hair-do is part of various African groups’ cultural traditions and craftsmanship - we can see some of these styles in old African artifacts.
MY PERSONAL WRAPPING STYLE
The wrapping in my artwork and studio practice is an exaggeration of a cross-cultural signifier: how we manifest our care, support and love, and how we heal our communities and ourselves. My wrapped bundles, unless photographed and worked on (as in Jones’s drawings and paintings), will suffer weather exposure and will shift in color and texture. This is part of the beauty of malleable and ephemeral installations, imitating the transformative nature of life.
WORKSHOP OBJECTIVES & INTENTIONS
This project aims to connect people with the various ethnographic wrapping rituals and cultures that exist in the community. The wrapping exercise raises awareness about the types of wrapping practices embedded in the lives of people and answers the question of what types of wrapping rituals are predominant in their communities and why. Connection with others is the main objective, have fun connecting with your peers like small children at the playground.
THE WRAPPING CULTURE IN OTHER ARTISTS WORK
Celebrated textile artist
Sheila Hicks was born in Hastings, Nebraska in 1934. She received her BFA and MFA degrees in painting from the Yale School of Art. Her thesis was on pre-Incaic textiles and for a while she lived and worked in Mexico and France. Hicks’s work reflects an examination of indigenous weaving practices in various cultures
 Artur C. Danto, Sheila Hicks and Joan Simon. Sheila Hicks, Weaving as Metaphor
Kim Jones was born in San Bernardino, California. His work reflects his personal life experiences including having been diagnosed with perthes, a polio-like illness and been confined to a wheelchair and leg braces from the ages of seven to ten. He also served a year as a marine in the Vietnam war from 1967 to 1968. The core of Jones’s oeuvre finds its roots beginning in the seventies in Los Angeles, a time when the city was not yet glamorous… The body and activism of civil rights, sexual liberation and an anti-war belief were shared amongst many at that time.
 Kim jones, Walgrove Exhibition, Zeno Gallery, Antwerp, Belgium, November-December 2015
Shinique Smith was born in Baltimore, Maryland who is known for her “...exuberant paintings, sculpture, and large-scale installations that capture the power of human expression and resilience” (MFA Boston on Shinique Smith’s Bright Matter Exhibition, August 2014 - March 2015). Her installation art, and paintings incorporate found textiles and collage materials. Graffiti and Japanese calligraphy as an abstraction also influence her work.
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Please share your thoughts on wrapping or your own wrapping rituals.