Back Story (1 of 2)

“Cloth Mother” is a #masquerade made of comfort.



Once upon a time a white man named Harry Harlow was studying attachment and took baby monkeys away from their mothers as part of an experiment. The infant primates were given a choice between a cloth mother (with no food) or a wire mother that provided food. The experiment revealed how much comfort itself sustains life in primates (perhaps even moreso than food as several babies almost starved to death on their cloth mother). I was thinking about this experiment for the last 20 years and about the nature of displacement to all indigenous people everywhere, especially those of us who are indigenous to the Motherland and the Caribbean. While in residence at the #burkemuseum I worked with community to stuff tiny pillows made of traditional African textiles (tribal, Ankara, kente, etc) with raw cotton. People of all ages and backgrounds helped create Cloth Mother.

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