One of today’s most influential reggae artists, Protoje, tells a tale of retribution in his brand new video for “Self Defense,” the single from his latest album In Search of Lost Time (In.Digg.Nation Collective/Six Course Music/RCA Records). The Jamaican lyricist addresses distrust in his country’s government and takes a vigilante approach to control the bad-minded people running the streets. The visual, directed by Rebecca Williams, shows a group of women taking matters into their own hands to expose a man of his horrific crime.
“This is one of my favorite songs from the album and I decided to do a video for it because I feel like I wanted it to be almost like a declaration or call to attention regarding how we treat our women, especially as men. I wanted the story to be told from a woman’s perspective – and that’s how I linked up with the director, Rebecca. She’s an awesome storyteller & I think she did a great job with this video,” Protoje states.
On the track, Protoje talks about the hypocrisies of a patriarchal system and how it supports domestic violence and abuse. “Me hear some man a say them rather rape than turn a gay. As if dem deh ting deh related in any way. You nuh see say a some sicko them mentality. The patriarchy propagate all of them fallacy. Even in the church the violation prevalent Jehovah, you nuh witness, tell me that no relevant. Dem deh business cyaa exist inna we regiment. A self-defense and we no hesitant.”
Protoje is no stranger calling out misogyny and has made a concerted effort to help shift that paradigm. Within his own industry, he has signed and supported an all-female roster of Jamaican artists including Sevana, Lila Iké and Jaz Elise through his label and artist management company In.Digg.Nation Collective to represent the full spectrum of talent that his island has to offer.
Protoje’s fifth studio album In Search of Lost Time stays in rotation since its release on August 28, 2020. He colored outside the lines for a cinematic, ethereal, multi-genre LP and executive produced the entire project and co-produced five out of the thirteen original tracks. Now the vinyl edition to In Search of Lost Time is available for pre-order with shipments expected in September.
Born and raised in Saint Elizabeth, Jamaica to singer Lorna Bennett and former calypso king Mike Ollivierre, Protoje blends hip hop, soul and jazz into his native sounds of reggae and dancehall. The musical prodigy, along with a collective of fellow artists, began getting mainstream attention for their addictive melodies and conscious lyrical messages in a movement dubbed the “reggae revival.” Publications such as VOGUE, Rolling Stone, The FADER, and PAPER have declared him one of the brightest talents out of Jamaica. His catalog consists of the following studio albums: Seven Year Itch (2011), The 8 Year Affair (2013), Ancient Future (2015) and A Matter Of Time (2018) and In Search Of Lost Time (2020). As a producer, he receives a co-credit for Rock & Groove Riddim (2019). His studio album A Matter Of Time earned him his first GRAMMY nomination for Best Reggae Album and his national U.S. TV debut performance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, both in 2019. He has toured with Ms. Lauryn Hill and appeared on major festivals including Coachella (US), Glastonbury (UK), Afropunk (US), Reading & Leeds (UK), Sole DXB (Dubai) and Lollapalooza (Chile), reaching audiences far and wide with his genre-fusing sound. In 2020, the musician signed an unprecedented major deal with RCA Records in partnership with Six Course Records and his label and management company In.Digg.Nation Collective. Under the RCA deal, Protoje brokered individual album deals for himself as well as his rising female artists Lila Iké, Sevana and Jaz Elise. He has received praise from the likes of NYLON and Uproxx for In.Digg.Nation Collective’s forward-thinking sound. He performed on NPR Tiny Desk and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert #PlayAtHome and graces one of i-D magazine’s digital covers for Spring 2021.
The Untitled Space is pleased to present “UNRAVELED: Confronting The Fabric of Fiber Art” group show opening on April 17 and on view through May 28, 2021. Curated by Indira Cesarine, the exhibition will feature textile and fiber-based artworks by 40 contemporary women artists. “UNRAVELED: Confronting The Fabric of Fiber Art” explores in depth the themes and techniques of the medium through the works of female-identifying artists working with natural and synthetic fiber, fabric, and yarn. The exhibition presents figurative and abstract works that address our lived experience and history through the lens of women weaving, knotting, twining, plaiting, coiling, pleating, lashing, and interlacing. Narratives of self-identification, race, religion, gender, sexuality, our shared experience, as well as protest and the patriarchy are literally “unraveled” through embroidery, felt, woven and hooked rugs, braided and sewn hair, sewn fabrics, discarded clothing, cross-stitching, repurposed materials and more.
Exhibiting Artists: Amber Doe, Carol Scavotto, Caroline Wayne, Christy O’Connor, Daniela Puliti, Delaney Conner, Dominique Vitali, Elise Drake, Elizabeth Miller, Hera Haesoo Kim, Indira Cesarine, Jamia Weir, Jody MacDonald, Julia Brandão, Kathy Sirico, Katie Cercone, Katie Commodore, Katrina Majkut, Katy Itter, Kelly Boehmer, Linda Friedman Schmidt, Lisa Federici, Marianne Fairbanks, Mary Tooley Parker, Melanie Fischer, Melissa Zexter, Mychaelyn Michalec, Mz Icar, Orly Cogan, Robin Kang, Rosemary Meza-DesPlas, Ruta Naujalyte, Sally Hewett, Sarah Blanchette, Sooo-z Mastopietro, Sophie Boggis-Rolfe, Stacy Isenbarger, Stephanie Eche, Victoria Selbach, and Winnie van der Rijn.
unravel [ uhn-rav-uhl ] to separate or disentangle the threads of (a woven or knitted fabric, a rope, etc.). to free from complication or difficulty; make plain or clear; solve: to unravel a situation; to unravel a mystery.
“UNRAVELED: Confronting the Fabric of Fiber Art” investigates the narratives of contemporary fiber artists. The exhibition brings together a diverse group of artists who each address through their own personal vision, materials, and methods, works that are deeply rooted in the history of feminism, in the intersection of art and craft, addressing our living experiences and personal languages. We live in a world of extremes – on one hand, the pandemic has brought forth an intensity on digital and online programming peaking with the emergence of NFT art, and on the opposite end of the spectrum we are seeing a return to the comforts of the home and along with it a renaissance of organic and handmade artworks that embody that spirit. The laborious and repetitive methods required to create one work of fiber art can take hundreds of hours, yet equally the creation process is often referred to as a mediative act of healing, allowing for an expressive personal and cultural interrogation.
Fibers have been an integral part of human civilization for thousands of years. Textile art is one of the oldest art forms, dating back to prehistoric times. Despite early works of textiles such as embroideries and tapestries having been made by both men and women, the tradition of textiles and needlework evolved into that of “women’s work” and was not only dismissed as not “important” but was literally banned from the high art world by the Royal Academy in the 18th century (circa 1769). With the rise of the women’s movement as well as technological advances, women reclaimed the medium, subverted its history as a lesser art form, and transformed it into a tool of expression, of protest, of personality. From early suffrage movement embroidered banners to the groundbreaking exhibitions and works of female pioneers such as Bauhaus weaver Anni Alber’s momentous solo show at the Museum of Modern Art in 1949, Lenore Tawney’s exhibition at the Staten Island Museum in 1961 to Judy Chicago’s groundbreaking 1979 work “The Dinner Party”, we have seen the medium evolve and inspire new generations of fiber artists.
“UNRAVELED: Confronting the Fabric of Fiber Art” explores this new wave of female-identifying artists who are using materials ranging from thread and yarn to human hair, fabrics, and discarded clothing, among a range of other components to unravel the “language of thread” with works that provoke and interrogate. Whether drawn from a deeply personal narrative, or rooted in political motivation, each artist weaves, spins, sews, and hooks the viewer with their detailed and intricate textures that communicate and empower. The exhibition presents two and three-dimensional pieces that explore with gravity and humor our contemporary culture, its beauty, flaws, and idiosyncrasies through murals, assemblages, fragile and gestural threads, meditative, and metaphorical fibers. “UNRAVELED: Confronting the Fabric of Fiber Art” pushes the boundaries, investigates ancient as well as new materials and techniques, and presents a contemporary universe of the language of women and their interwoven, progressive vocabulary.”– Curator Indira Cesarine
“To know the history of embroidery is to know the history of women.” – Rozsika Parker author of “The Subversive Stitch” (1984)
“I am a multimedia artist who uses sculpture and performance to bear witness to the experiences of black women even as American society aims to render us and our lives as invisible and meaningless. Despite the prevalent “urban black” narrative, my experience is tied to the natural world, and I use materials that reference my desert environment and my lived experience as a black woman with Indigenous roots.” – Artist Amber Doe
“I mix subversion with flirtation, humor with power, and intimacy with frivolity. My subject matter is frank and provocative, dealing with issues of fertility, sexuality, self-image, isolation, vulnerability, indulgence, and beauty in the mundane, which are designed to challenge social stereotypes embedded within childhood fairytales. My work explores the many flavors of feminism.” – Artist Orly Cogan
“I pull from my autobiography to illustrate stories of trauma, sexuality, intimacy, and growth. Detailed beading and cyclical patterning emphasize the consistent labor in the repetitive motion of handsewing, that which mirrors the emotional and psychic labor expended in order to manage the suffering a body can accumulate over time. My sculptures translate the life experience of a survivor of complex trauma through the lens of glittering beadwork in order to recount deeply traumatic stories for the same cultural collective that due to repression, denial, censorship and deliberate silencing…” –Artist Caroline Wayne
“This body of work scrutinizes the amalgamation of victim shaming tropes that men and women are taught throughout their lives, both passively and actively, through social norms, pop culture, our educational and legal systems, religious establishments, and familial influences and upbringing.” – Artist Christy O’Connor
“My work focuses on my personal experience living within the confines of a female body, exploring sexuality, religion, and body image. The shared narratives of childbirth, menstruation, dysmorphia, sexual violation, and societal scrutiny all come into play and find connections with the viewers in their shared commonality.” – Artist Dominique Vitali
“My textile works are hand-sewn, fabric based sculptural pieces made from recycled materials that have multiple uses as ritual talismans, wearables, ecstatic birth blankets, dreamcatchers and traveling altars”. – Artist Katie Cercone
“Discarded clothing is my paint. I give second chances to the worn, the damaged, the mistreated, the abandoned, the unwanted, and to myself. My emotional narrative portraits and figurative artworks examine the human condition through my own lived experience. The violence of cutting and deconstruction make way for the reconstruction and refashioning of a broken past.” – Artist Linda Friedman Schmidt
“We are drawn to the grand gesture, the loud assured voice, the bold move, the aggressive brush stroke. I celebrate the opposite: the small moments in our lives – the unremarkable… as Covid-19 took over, some of the things I was celebrating became even more pertinent; toilet paper, soap, hand sanitizer. These objects became signs of hope, of safety, of comfort.” – Artist Melanie Fischer
ABOUT THE UNTITLED SPACE
The Untitled Space is an art gallery located in Tribeca, New York in a landmark building on Lispenard Street. Founded in 2015 by artist Indira Cesarine, the gallery features an ongoing curation of exhibits of emerging and established contemporary artists exploring conceptual framework and boundary-pushing ideology through mediums of painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, video and performance art. The gallery is committing to exploring new ideas vis-à-vis traditional and new mediums and highlights a program of women in art. Since launching The Untitled Space gallery, Cesarine has curated over 40 exhibitions and has exhibited artwork by more than 450 artists. Her curatorial for The Untitled Space includes solo shows for artists Sarah Maple, Rebecca Leveille, Alison Jackson, Fahren Feingold, Jessica Lichtenstein, Tom Smith, Loren Erdrich, Kat Toronto aka Miss Meatface, Katie Commodore, and Jeanette Hayes among many others. Notable group shows include “Art4Equality x Life, Liberty & The Pursuit of Happiness” public art exhibition and group show presented in collaboration with Save Art Space, “IRL: Investigating Reality,” “BODY BEAUTIFUL,” “SHE INSPIRES,” Special Projects “EDEN” and “(HOTEL) XX” at SPRING/BREAK Art Show, and internationally celebrated group shows “UPRISE/ANGRY WOMEN,” and “ONE YEAR OF RESISTANCE” responding to the political climate in America, as well as numerous other critically-acclaimed exhibitions. Recent press on Indira Cesarine & The Untitled Space includes Vogue (US), Vogue Italia, CNN, Forbes, Newsweek, W Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, Teen Vogue, New York Magazine, i-D Magazine, Dazed and Confused, and The New York Times among many others.
*Featured image artwork by Victoria Selbach for UNRAVELED: Confronting The Fabric of Fiber Art.
Artwork by Elise Drake, UNRAVELED Confronting The Fabric of Fiber Art.
Artwork by Mary Tooley Parker, UNRAVELED Confronting The Fabric of Fiber Art.
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