Installation images, Project: Ramekon O'Arwisters, Pro Arts, Oakland, CA March 18, 2014–April 18, 2014
Ramekon O'Arwisters is a social practice artist who combines his collaborative, community-based projects with folk art traditions and techniques. His acclaimed ongoing project, "Crochet Jams," invite participants to collectively crochet large sculptures called Spirit Tapestries. For Pro Arts' PROJECT space, O'Arwisters worked in collaboration with residents of Satellite Affordable Housing Associates' (SAHA) Valdez Plaza, a low income senior housing community, to create a new Spirit Tapestry. The sculpture represents the conversations and stories expressed during the Crochet Jam, commemorating and symbolizing the bonds and relationships made. O'Arwisters explains the impact of the Crochet Jams, "through this process, one can explore how art-making in public in a safe and inclusive environment can be a brdige that unites and empowers others. [...] Whatever is made during the events - from one Crochet Jam after another - that's the art and it's exceptional work."
PROJECT: Ramekon O'Arwisters is the first in a series of commissions made in partnership with SAHA. SAHA provides quality affordable homes and services that empower people and strengthen neighborhoods (www.sahahomes.org). Pro Arts' partnership with SAHA brings thought-provoking contemporary art to traditionally underrepresented communities, engaging residents through participatory art-making sessions. Artworks created during these sessions are incorporated in the commissioned projects that are exhibited at Pro Arts' downtown Oakland gallery.
About the Artist: Ramekon O'Awristers lives in works in San Francisco, CA. He is a recent recipient of a 2014 Eureka Fellowship, a 2002 Artadia Award, and a second San Francisco Arts Commission Individual Artist Grant in 2011. He has exhibited at The Luggage Store, San Francisco, and Kato Gallery, Tokyo, Japan. His work has been included in numerous group exhibitions including at the African American Art & Cultural Complex, and the Museum of the African Diaspora. In 2013, he participated in a residency at the M.H. de Young Museum in San Francisco.
About Satellite Affordable Housing Associates: SAHA was created when Satellite Housing and Affordable Housing Associates joined forces. SAHA provides quality affordable homes and services that empower people and strengthen communities. Based in Berkeley, SAHA draws on 66 years of experience to operate 56 communities for low-income seniors, families and people with special needs and provide services to over 2,700 households. SAHA currently has 21 new projects in development. SAHA’s innovative, high quality housing communities have received numerous awards including from the American Institute of Architects, the Golden Nugget and the Urban Land Institute. Please visit sahahomes.org for more information.