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  • Sonia

Increasing Diversity Through Fiber Arts

How do we increase diversity? Representation is so important. I grew up during a time when there wasn't much in the way of representation of Black People. My family had to hunt to find positive representations of Black people in toys, and books. I always enjoyed seeing a version of myself on television, or in a book, or in a movie. I felt special and it encouraged me to be proud and take up space. This is the mission behind my business. Increasing representation is a big deal. I hope to do so by crocheting and knitting visual representations of Black Women. My dream is to crochet so many types of images, that little Black girls everywhere can look to and see themselves in.

I remember growing up with the idea that I could do anything, and be anything. I felt fearless and liked to try everything. I also remember that sinking feeling that I didn't belong, with my puffy plaits and my brown skin. It's this very reason that I believe my art was born. The need to see more of my people and our culture has always been there. I'm not surprised with the type of proud Black upbringing that I come from. Growing up in a multicultural part of Canada was good but I still felt excluded by media and popular culture. I was not represented often, but representation was slowly emerging throughout the decades as I matured.

In 2020 the state of racism exploded with the murder of George Floyd. I was saddened by the fact that these extreme circumstances led to the uprising, but I was happy for change and dialogue that was started. The idea of more equality and change began to seriously take form. Black people are tired and we want justice for our injustice and peace for our children. I want my children to grow up feeling included and welcome. I want my children's children to have the same.

It's no wonder that my subject matter is that of my people. More and more images, sculptures, animation, drawings, movies, books, of Black People is what I'm excited to see. I am happy to be apart of change for the betterment of Black People and future generations. Naturally, after completing my Afrocentric crochet and knitting designs, I wanted more ways to increase representation.

The idea of printing my crochet designs is something that I kept under wraps for a long time. I wasn't until recently (2021) that I was finally in the phase of my business and artist lifestyle to execute the design process. I was excited to print a knit/crochet image on a variety of merchandise and sell the images I create. Afro Radiance is my first print but I am excited to continue to increase diversity through fiber art. I am going to continue to spread my printed images all over the world so that little children of all races can see beautiful representations.

I always knew that beyond crocheting or knitting Afrocentric images , that I would want to produce my art in print form. I do have questions from friends or family about producing white images. I do make white images for custom designs, but I am here to amplify the voices and images of Bipoc People. Allies of skin understand the importance of pushing the narrative and making sure that we see more Bipoc, and hear about our experiences. My greater mission, is to enter white spaces with my imagery and be popular art. Give me time and this will be a reality. I work hard at my goals and I can't lose sight of the excitement of achieving my goals. I also am excited for a future of equality for all. I hold fast to that vision and continue it through my artist journey.

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