My name is Alisha Walker, I am an artist, community advocate, and former inside organizer. I was recently incarcerated for eight years. During my time inside, I released my pain and heartache through my art and poetry. I have worked with many organizations, such as the Support Ho(s)e Collective, Survived & Punished, and Love & Protect, to help change prison culture and promote healing within the walls of a corrupt system. I sought every opportunity to connect to others, build community and become self-educated inside. During my darkest moments, art was my only reprieve. Art helped heal me and gave me an outlet to express my innermost feelings when I had no other means of expressing my struggle.
Cordelia Rizzo (1982- she/her/hers) Is a Mexican activist, scholar, and maker. She is a PhD Candidate in Performance Studies from Northwestern University and holds an MA in Philosophy from KU Leuven. She has worked as a human rights consultant and in community outreach for several NGO’s and government organizations.
Her doctoral research probes the language of textile making to theorize what makes memory work possible. It centers touch as a medium of knowledge in times of political crises. Her dissertation addresses feminist critiques of politics and knowledge production in textile work from her native Mexico. This project delves into Indigenous knowledges and weaving to identify feminist and anti-colonial components of the protest imbricated in textile making. She focuses mainly on embroidery, since one of her main sites of research is the transnational Embroidering for Peace initiative, which began in 2011 to protest organized violence (the war on drugs) in Mexico.
JULIAN J. JONES is an interdisciplinary artist born and raised on the northside of Indianapolis, IN. Jones earned his Bachelor’s degree in Photography in 2020 from the Herron School of Art + Design in Indianapolis, IN. In 2022, Julian received his Masters of Fine Arts from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, MI, under the tutelage of Chris Fraser.
Jones merges a range of mediums to express his perspectives around Black identity. His works bridge drawing, sculpture, and textile to memorialize Black culture. In addition, Julian communicates through the historical language of African American quilting by implementing abstract forms and vibrant colors in his works to bypass the viewer’s critical faculties and open a conversation around his Black experience.
Julian was selected for the 2022 PLAYGROUND Detroit Emerging Artist Fellowship, featured in the 2022 Spoonflower Article “What (and Who?) Is the Future of Quilting? and was the recipient of The 2022 Cranbrook Art Museum Purchase Award.
Lisa Woolfork is a sewist, podcaster, community organizer and mscholar. She is the founder of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group where BlackLives Matter. She is also the host/producer of Stitch Please, a weekly audio podcast that centers Black women, girls, and femmes in sewing. In the summer of 2017, she became a founding member of Black Lives Matter Charlottesville. This group protested against the white supremacist insurgency that had taken hold of the Virginia city. She organized in a variety of ways including nonviolent direct action, working with a bail fund for activists, sewing for a creative arts team, and co-founding a media collective. A fourth-generation sewing enthusiast, she has spoken about the connections between Black liberation and craft for the Smithsonian’s African American Craft Summit, the Modern Quilt Guild, the Center for Craft, Architectural Digest and more. Her work interrogates boundaries between art and craft, social justice and liberation. Practicing the unlikely but not unprecedented mix of needle arts and Black liberation, Woolfork’s sewing and quilting practice operates alongside her scholarly inquiry as an Associate Professor of English at the University of Virginia, where she offers courses in the fields of Black literary and cultural studies.
Tobiah Mundt is a self taught fiber artist who was born and raised in Houston, Texas. She studied Architecture at Howard University in Washington, DC and eventually left the field of Architecture for sculpture. She uses needle felting, wet felting, and rug tufting techniques to sculpt abstract and figurative pieces centered on her ancestry that illustrate and invoke emotion.She is the Co-Owner and Creative Director of The Hive, an arts and crafts bar in Charlottesville, Virginia where she teaches fiber arts, blurring the line between art and craft. A New City Arts Initiative Fellow and former Artist Residence at The Bridge Pai and Welcome Gallery in Charlottesville, VA, her work has been exhibited at Lawndale Art Center in Houston, TX, Art Whino in Washington, DC, Second Street Gallery, The Bridge, Welcome Gallery, and The Garage in Charlottesville, VA. Tobiah's work is produced using a slow meditative process called needle felting.
Sangi Ravichandran(she/they) is a queer crip femme Desi immigrant artist, scholar, healer, grower and seed enthusiast. Their life’s work is geared towards building a world free from punishment and violence. Towards this end, their artistic practice brings together words, seeds, dyes, textiles, spinning, weaving and sewing, to explore the intersections between healing, community, growth, freedom and reimagining a newly transformed world.
She is a prison abolitionist and organizes with Love & Protect, a volunteer led collective, supporting women and gender non-conforming/non-binary people of color who are criminalized or harmed by state and interpersonal violence. She is a part of the Rogers park seed library, where she imagines and works towards liberation for all, through seed keeping practices. She is a PhD candidate at the University of Illinois, researching the intersections of criminalization, law and science and also teaches in the Sociology, Criminology, Law and Justice and Black studies departments. Through her art, growing, research, teaching and organizing practices, she hopes to collectively build a world that is geared towards gender and racial justice.
Dr. Melissa Blount is a licensed clinical psychologist, writer, and artist who creates textile pieces that explore the notions of trauma, white supremacy and violence against Black cis and transgender women. Through community sewing circles, she cultivates unique opportunities for people to bear witness to the unjust and violent loss of life in communities of color. Melissa is also a passionate community activist and volunteer in Evanston. She was a founding member of both MEET (Making Evanston Equitable Together) and OPAL (organization for Positive Action and Leadership). Melissa currently serves as an Advisory Board member for the James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy.
Jude is a freedom fighter on many fronts of the liberation struggle. Rooted in a belief that radical love and creative resistance will set us free, she is a cultural worker, community organizer and advocate for dignity, justice and self-determination.
Alexandria Eregbu is a creative producer whose practice spans across art, curation, education, justice, and the humanities to consider objects, stories, and experiences that dignify Black life. She creates fiber art, painting, sculpture, writing, performance, film, music, exhibitions, programs, and other time-based media to bridge nature, design, healing, and ecology. Her work often utilizes materials like chalk, indigo, cowrie shells, wood, and feathers amongst processes like natural dye, drawing and quilting to make sacred with the unseen. As a scholar and educator, Alexandria references stories and craft traditions to both interpret and call into question omissions of Black and femme-centered histories and curricula in the United States.
Alexandria is also the founder and DJ of FINDING IJEOMA, a lifestyle platform dedicated to supporting unique experiences for Black women and children’s voices to thrive across art, learning, and storytelling. She is current faculty at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she teaches in the department of Fiber & Material Studies.