WWHB: Trinity

I specifically used the Japanese and African fabrics, separating them by type in the two lower shapes.
Ariel Okamoto
July 6, 2021

I specifically used the Japanese and African fabrics, separating them by type in the two lower shapes. Here, there's a sense of fragmentation, with the outward spirals representing continuing grief and lament, which would have no end if all we had was this broken world. The two separate shapes also represent the often exploited inter-ethnic realities that get played off of each other, whether that's the model minority or oppression Olympics or some other trope.

I used black squares for the inside of these shapes because the deeper racial traumas of both Asian and African American communities I've been processing over the last year (e.g., my family's internment, the recent Atlanta shootings, Black friends' ancestors' enslavement and continuing suffering) are not personally my own, although I am both complicit in and affected by the present racial culture and system. In some ways, I am empty of these deeper traumas myself, even as I recognize all of it can have an impact on me.

But where I feel emptied by spiraling grief and conflicting identities and narratives, I turn to the ultimate suffering and grief of Jesus on the cross. Both with us as man and above us as God, he held all of us - the wrongs we've suffered and the wrongs we've inflicted - on the cross as he died for us. This isn't quite yet the picture of "where we hope to be" that's the final project, but it's the only place my grief can find a true, ultimately redemptive home. That hopeful direction is indicated in the fact that I chose slightly different patterns for the Japanese and African fabrics used...there's a transfiguration starting to happen in the midst of grief.

And finally, I say this last part with a bit of an eye roll, as it comes directly from my father's psychiatric career, and he would laugh if I relayed my thought to him...there's a need for integration rather than splitting within myself and within everyone. It's easy to make narratives about us or other people being good or bad, but we have to acknowledge our own complexity in doing both throughout our lives and make space for grieving, lamenting, & repenting.

About Liberty Worth & "Where We Have Been & Where We Hope To Be"

Liberty Worth is a native of Los Angeles- a city of grit, diversity and great natural beauty. Influenced by the power of art and nature to soothe trauma and bring peace, she creates works that reflect natural wonder and quiet beauty from both new and discarded or repurposed materials. Where We Have Been and Where We Hope to Be is her current series of quilts created as a meditation on grief, hopes, and history in response to the murder of George Floyd and protests in 2020. She constructs these quilts using scraps of African fabrics in simple blocks.

She extended this practice and created a series of videos and materials from her own work and some of the materials from the Inbreak Residency - and pitched it to a small diverse group of friends and colleagues. The participants created works of their own. Each went through the steps of learning the materials (Session 1), mapping their heritage (Session 2), honoring their grief (Session 3) and investigating hope (Session 4). Digital artists turned the project digital, writers wrote profound statements and visual artists pushed boundaries. This is their work. Liberty’s quilts, their paper & digital quilts - some of which she has created back into quilts. Each artist has written a statement about their work.

Purchase "Trinity"