Braids to Freedom: Small
Braids to Freedom: Small
Technique: Embroidery on digital print
Handmade paper mixed with yarn and fiber from Porridge Papers
Artwork: 5.5 in W x 8.5 in H
Illustration by: Luisa Velez
Artwork intervened by: Noodo Studio
Due to the handmade process of this product, some variation in the paper and embroidery may occur due to the inherent nature of it.
ABOUT THIS COLLECTION
Collaboration is in our DNA. We created a series of illustrations that merge everything we love. Each piece is made in handmade paper and finished with embroidery. They all tell a different fantasy; freedom, dreams, and a search for discovery are some of the themes explored by the artists.
We are inspired by touch and thread. We wanted to incorporate thread from the start so our handmade paper is made with strands of loose yarn. Materiality at its core is what we are about.
THE STORY BEHIND IT
This collage is inspired by the oral history of San Basilio de Palenque, the first free African town of the Americas founded in a remote part of the north of Colombia. During the years of the fight against slavery, African women would memorize escape routes when they went out with their masters and then braid them as maps on the heads of other enslaved men, children, and women. These braids or cornrows were also used for hiding seeds, which were then used to plant the first crops of free slaves. Some others hid gold while working in the mines, which was then used to pay for their freedom if caught while trying to escape. In Africa, these braids were a cultural expression. In the New World, they were a path to Freedom.
Luisa is from Colombia, and this is part of the history of her country and many of my fellow countrywomen and men. However, as someone with light skin, this wasn't the history of her family, neither do I know from experience the struggle of living as a black person in the Americas. The resilience, courage, and creativity of these African women and men inspire and move me. This is a homage to them. To their legacy and their memory. May all people be free.
Luisa is a graphic designer and art director from Colombia, currently based in Brooklyn. One of her deepest interests is human connection. Connection to ourselves and others. Throughout her career, she has used design and visual communication to explore different paths to deepen that connection. She believes design can be a powerful tool for democratizing complex information, spreading social justice initiatives, and, ultimately, contributing to a more equal and just world for all.