Super Special Shutdown Workshop for WRAPture

While our president has shut down the US government over a border wall to keep Latinx immigrants out, we spent the day with furloughed federal workers working on a different kind of “border patrol” to create woodblock sari borders for a transborder feminist art project with women in Bangladesh. It was a day of transborder solidarity on climate change, and I am so grateful to everyone who made it possible.

I woke up early to get ready for our first workshop in the beautiful new Line Hotel’s Adams Morgan Community Center. I was lucky to have two helpers, Amy Lokoff and Sangeeta Mookherji, and together we rolled all our supplies from my studio to the venue in my three shopping trolleys. Jessica Bruce warmly welcomed us to the space, and Maps Glover arrived to help with set up. An early arrival, Nathan, also helped with setting up the space.

Soon we had a full house even though WRAPture workshop #6 was only scheduled one week ago as an extra workshop for furloughed federal workers who are forced to stay home and not be paid during this longest shutdown in US history. I am thrilled that lots of federal workers joined! We started the workshop with a big round of applause and by thanking the federal workers for the important work they do for our country and for each of us, and we expressed our sadness and our solidarity with them during this terrible situation they are facing with the shutdown.

We finished three saris at the workshop, including a sari that was partially covered in climate pledges by residents of Miami Beach and another sari that was started by youth at Project Create and a third one that was fully completed at today’s workshop. As we pounded out the sari border design with woodblocks, we would yell “border patrol” “border patrol.” Two people would work on designing the border of each sari. Yes, this is a different kind of border than the border wall that President Trump keeps talking about and has used as a rationale for shutting down the government.

In addition to the federal workers, we were happy to have with us a number of people from previous workshops in Anacostia, including Monica Utsey and her son Ayinde, and Pee, who we met at Project Create. We pledged to reduce our carbon footprint by “planting a garden, “turning off the lights,” “using public transportation,” “switching to LED bulbs,” and “drying clothes on a rack instead of in the dryer.”

It was a wonderful feeling have a workshop in my own neighborhood with participants from all over the DC area, of all ages, and from so many different walks of life. Thank you to each of you for your hard work.

We’ve made over a dozen saris so far, and we have two more workshops coming up before I head to Bangladesh on Valentine’s Day to pick up more saris (which will be printed by our collaborators in Katakhali Village), along with new woodblocks, and more fabric paint. We are building a wonderful transborder commmunity around WRAPture, and I’m so enjoying getting to know all of you through our collective hands-on low-carbon work.

– Monica, January 18, 2019

Photo credit: Monica Jahan Bose and Sangeeta Mookherji


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