On Tuesday, February 7, we gather to honor the creativity, labor, and memory of the neighbors and visiting artists that created the Material Memory exhibit in North Philadelphia.

We’ll close the exhibit with readings from the “Future Memory” writing workshop. With the guidance of Healing Hurt People peer counselors, the Future Memory group convened every Saturday in the exhibit space to use the past to envision futures for our new community.

Come experience the exhibit for the last time and celebrate this groundbreaking exhibit with us.

Warm refreshments and beverages will be served, but dress warmly!

5:30 p.m. SunSet dance by SaltSoul dance company (ticketed only, link here)

6:00 p.m. Gathering and nourishing (Treats by neighborhood artist Sherita Dill)

6:30 p.m. Readings by Future Memory group

7:00 p.m. Closing remarks by visiting artist Olanrewaju Tejuoso and Executive Director Aviva Kapust

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Material Memory is the result of an 8-month collaboration between Nigerian sculptor Olanrewaju Tejuoso and neighborhood artists at the Village of Arts and Humanities in North Philadelphia.

Olanrewaju’s (Lanre) artistic practice involves collecting (and cleaning) discarded materials and creating new, visually stunning objects through tying, wrapping, and stapling the materials together. His process transforms the materials into complicated tapestries that reflect global issues of environmental degradation and economic decay.  

When Lanre arrived in North Philly, he surveyed the streets for materials, often coming across candles, bottles, and teddy bears assembled into temporary memorials by people in the neighborhood grieving the death of a loved one. The material quality of the memorials provided inspiration for a conversation with the community.

For this project, Lanre worked with the two groups of community artists to produce a collective “memorial” for the neighborhood.  Through “sewing circles,” dinners, meetings, and field trips, the groups considered the material quality of memory, the significance of loss, and the shape of resilience.

The resulting exhibition operates as a single memorial and many memorials. With over 10,000 square feet of exhibit space, this is a major art exhibit nestled in the heart of North Philadelphia. 

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SPACES International AIR is supported by the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage. 

Neighborhood artists: Sherita Dill, Tamara Dill, Bruce Giddings, Margaret Waters, Anthony “Ant” Carr, Will Reid, Nick Brown, and Stanley Ward.

Photographer: Breanne Furlong.

Community Organizing Mentor: Grimaldi Baez.