An exhibition that explores textiles and patterns as modes of communicating creation stories i.e., the way we come to be based on our storied histories of movement and discovery. BEYOND THE SOIL is inspired by the modes of meaning embedded in quilting practices of the African diaspora.
BEYOND THE SOIL combines the tactile applications of quilting practices with new media by incorporating digital design, 3D printing and augmented reality. The exhibit features imagined quilt patches from several Afrodiasporic members located in cities across Ontario as well as Chicago, IL. Each participant was asked to sketch or digitally draw their creation story—exploring their lineage and the experiences that have molded them. We are comprised of a compilation of moments that shape us. For Black folks, those moments are a mixed assemblage of movement, adaptation, and shifting soil.
The Making of Beyond the Soil
BEYOND THE SOIL was curated and designed by Nico Taylor & Queen Kukoyi of Oddside Arts with assistance from Chicago-based community artist Schetauna Powell of Artivism Community Art. The creation of the exhibit also benefited from artistic consulting by Toronto-based artist and designer, Neekta Torabian who advised on the 3D printing on fabric. And a custom display for the 3D-printed prototype quilt patches created by Toronto-based architectural designer and installation artist, Mark Francis.
The quilt patterns
Quilts are a woven source of record keeping passed down through generations. There is a rich history of African diasporic quilting culture, birthing folklore that visualizes the mass displacement of African descendent people due to the Transatlantic Slave Trade. These patterns attempt to communicate how those searching for their freedom navigated the Underground Railroad. Whether these tales are true or not, quilting has long been a way for many African ancestors to gather with community, impart cultural knowledge and pass down visual histories as meaningful fabric stitches.
BEYOND THE SOIL features artistic work from: Afi Browne, Gerda Creates, Kofi Frempong (not yet available), Levyi-Alexander J. Love, Meighan Morson, Myrtle Henry Sodhi, Nandi Taylor, Nenookaasi, Ohm, and The Wild Woman.
The above artwork is the first iteration of an innovative communal quilting project.
View The Exhibit
You can view BEYOND THE SOIL by visiting the rotunda of Toronto’s City Hall (100 Queen St W) from February 21-24.
To get the most out of your viewing experience, download the Artivive App to be able to explore the augmented reality (AR) on each piece.