Raisa Kabir: House Made of Tin (a socially distanced weaving performance)

Raisa Kabir critically examines how global structures of production create a hierarchy in which value and care are assigned to laborers that can adhere to eugenic and capitalist expectations of “useful” and “functioning” bodies. Kabir uses textile production in their work to alternately cite these structures and reclaims their output as allegory for, in Kabir’s words, “the ways in which marginalized communities rely–and have always relied–on support networks of care and structures of mutual aid to survive that are separate to the state.” In their woven sculptures, the intertwined threads of weaving signify the interdependent care on which disability depends. These interrelationships, made visible, perform a disability aesthetic that resists commodification and individuation.

Through an open call, Kabir organized and documented a public weaving performance in October 2020 created, by, for, and from BIPOC, disabled, and queer participants. The result was a geometric textile sculpture created through interdependent action and care. Kabir used the documentation from the performance to create this new film, House Made of Tin (a socially distanced weaving performance). The visible face masks and physical distance between participants underscores the urgency and precarious nature of support structures during a time of pandemic. By embodying these structures of support and mutual aid, this performance asks us to consider how labor and care are connected across all bodies and borders. In doing so, House Made of Tin (a socially distanced weaving performance) underscores a key precept of disability justice that, in Kabir’s words, “is dependent on wider society believing in, and participating in, creating access for all.”

The screening will be followed by a conversation with artists melannie monoceros and Raju Rage to discuss crafting resilience, trans care, crip kinship and chronic illness.

About the curators

Jessica A. Cooley and Ann M. Fox have been curatorial collaborators since 2009. Jessica is a scholar-curator currently finishing her dissertation titled Crip Materiality, which forwards a new methodology to address how ableism affects the understanding and valuation of the very fibers of art materials within curatorial and conservation discourses; Ann is a Professor of English at Davidson College in Davidson, NC, with specialties in disability studies in literature and art. They have co-curated two disability-related exhibitions together, RE/FORMATIONS: Disability, Women, and Sculpture and STARING. In addition, both Jessica and Ann have been invited to give national and international talks, hired as consultants to lend their expertise to issues related to disability and art, and contributed to a broad range of other curatorial projects and publications.

About the speakers

melannie monoceros is a poet and interdisciplinary artist exploring polysensory production and somatic grief through text/ile and film. Their work considers a collective qrip (queer+crip) consciousness by connecting to marvelous bodies living with complexity as sick or disabled. A Black creator of Taino and Arawak heritage, melannie was awarded the 2019 JRG Emerging Artist Award for their continued pursuit, integrating technology and accessibility through film via their series “ancestoradio”. melannie’s work was hosted by Gallery 1C03, Window Gallery, and the C2 Centre for Craft, Manitoba Craft Council (Winnipeg) in 2020 and can be found at the School of Art Gallery at the University of Manitoba in 2021. melannie is based in Treaty 1/Winnipeg, MB; home of the Métis First Nation and the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe, Dene, Cree, Dakota and Oji-Cree Nations. www.melanniemonoceros.com

Raju Rage is proactive about using art, education and activism to forge creative survival. Born in Kenya, raised in London and living/working beyond, they explore the spaces and relationships between dis/connected bodies, theory and practice, text and the body and aesthetics and the political substance. Their current interests are around sustainability, economies, care, and resistance. They are a member of Collective Creativity arts collective and are a creative educator and independent scholar with an interest in radical pedagogy.

Raju has a theirstory in activism, self and collective organised queer/ transgender/ people of colour movements and creative projects in London and beyond from which their politics and works draw on and from. www.rajurage.com

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