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Extended Family: DuVernay & Friends

Extended Family: DuVernay & Friends

For their second collection (available online on March 21 and on display for a month at GBA’s workspace, 197 Bond Street, Brooklyn), Charles DuVernay has invited additional artists to present work including Big Chief Pie and Big Queen Denise from the Monogram Hunters and Big Queen Denita Barlow of the Flaming Arrows tribe. Tyrone “Pie” Peterson and his wife Denise Smith have created a series of tapestries whose shapes and compositions allude to tortoises, butterflies, and African masks. Denise Barlow’s unique piece Born into Flames is a beaded, feathered dream catcher whose center is a doll representing the mother-child relationship.  

As a member of the downtown tribe Monogram Hunters, Charles DuVernay began sewing as a child. He assembles each suit with the help of friends and family, individually sewing each bead and sequin, a process that takes over 900 hours. The suit on display is entitled Beauty and Pain. This work is dedicated to DuVernay’s cousin Big Chief Dump who passed away at 38 and his own son who lived for four days. This artistic practice is one of immense dedication, secret sewing techniques passed on from one generation to the next, and a testament to how legacy endures. 

The Swamp Party tapestry was conceived of and produced as an individual artwork, pivoting from the Collective’s tradition of upcycling their annual Mardi Gras suits. The joyful expression of life infused with music is represented by an all-female band, including Rocky Raccoon playing trumpet, Allie Alligator on bass, Bianca Bear on tuba, Penelope Pelican as sound engineer, and Polly Possum as band manager. The energy source, a three dimensional sun, radiates warmth as the group performs New Orleans jazz.

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