Zenobia Marder

Oberlin College

My work is informed by interests as varied as African Art objects and pattern making. I am currently invested in processes and materials that provide tools to decode and exploit the logic of my own identity. I use a variety of materials including salt, clay, cloth, and cowrie shells in installations which include sculpture, photography, and textile work. Searching for agency in conversation with an art historical canon that is incomplete and biased, my work is often builds upon the work black artists and theorists in past and present have created to respond to, and evaluate, this conundrum. I have found theoretical support in feminism, postcolonial theory and Afrofuturism. I am speaking about pride, and what lays beneath it. I am diving towards articulating the ways in which black aspirations are reproduced as spectacle, either anguished or transcendent. It cannot be helped, that for me, the personal is political. In creating garments and objects, these very acts of labor approach the tensions that embody me. The garments are armor, weapons and masks. They are constructive and deconstructive objects that mimic constructed and deconstructed bodies – bodies deconstructed by racial, sexual, and class configurations. It is this body, this fleshy materiality, that seems to disappear from much of the current proliferations of discourse on the body.

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