Exhibit features healing, racial and social justice
LaShawnda Crowe Storm is an independent, community-based artist, educator and community programmer.
“I wear lots of hats,” she said. “But they all fall under the guiding principle of using my creative practice as a form for social work, healing and restorative justice.”
Her exhibit, “Working Through,” was on display in the LookOut! Gallery during February and Crowe Storm was artist in residence with the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities Feb. 13-17.
As part of her exhibit, one side of the gallery highlighted Crowe Storm’s work at the community level. In her work, she partners with different community organizations to start conversations about social issues, which she has chronicled in posters. During her residency, from a workstation in the gallery, Crowe Storm interacted and sewed with gallery visitors.
On the opposite side of the gallery was an interactive healing space. It held projects and art pieces designed to initiate conversation about social issues. Crowe Storm tackled the topic of racial injustice and lynching with a book of modernized lynching postcards and an interactive project called “Memoria: In Progress.”
The project allows participants to claim a name from a list of those who had been lynched, and place it on poster boards lining one wall. Later, those boards were converted into fabric used in Crowe Storm’s Lynch Quilts Project. The space also featured healing objects, such as totems and small mossy pots.
In the center of the gallery was a piece Crowe Storm said lives between the two realms. It featured a female mannequin rooted in the masquerade traditions of Africa – particularly Gelede and Egungun. The mannequin’s clothing and the canopy that hung above her were created in a collaborative effort called the Lynch Quilts Project, a community-based project that tries to foster conversation about racial violence, especially lynching.
Crowe Storm hopes that such conversation will allow for healing and eventual change: restorative justice. Sewing, and especially quilting, has had an American tradition of allowing women the opportunity to come together and talk, she said. So Crowe Storm has created a place for visitors to sit, sew and talk about the difficult issues presented in her work.
MSU is also home to Great Lakes Quilt Center and has collections and exhibitions related to the power of quilts as vehicles of expression, empathy and memory. To learn more visit The Great Lakes Quilt Center website.