Ramekon O'Arwisters

Q&A: “Held Firm—A Conversation with Ramekon O’Arwisters” by Maria Porges, July–August 2020, Sculpture Magazine

"Ramekon O'Arwisters' Ministry of Mending" by Maria Porges, May 20, 2020, Squarecylider.com, San Francisco

Brian Boucher’s Daily Dispatch, San Francisco, January 17, 2020, “We All Feel Broken”–Ramekon O’Arwisters’ Sculptures Stand for Our Vulnerable Beauty

SFMOMA announces 2019 finalists for prestigious SECA Award

Growing up in Jim Crow South during the Civil Rights Movement, I had a safe haven, quilting with my grandmother where I was embraced, important and special. These early memories prompted my nascent series of unique crocheted, ceramic sculptures, "Mending." Employing ordinary household or decorative pottery, broken and discarded, I combined traditional crafts into a dimensional woven tapestry, stripping both cloth and ceramic of their intended function.

In my new series of sculptures "Cheesecake," the works have transformed from something broken, needing mending to fully determined and self-aware. Being Black and Queer, the full complexity of the moniker Cheesecake, used to objectify an attractive, sexualized man or woman is not lost to me. Instead I embrace it, subverting the demeaning implication in describing my sculpture. Weaving textiles around large, broken ceramics is a stand-in for the feelings of anxiety, fear, and despair associated with the permanence of racism and homophobia. Combining lacy, embellished fabrics with ceramics contributed by students and faculty from California State University at Long Beach, my sculptural hybrids embody both danger and seduction.

I am the founder of Crochet Jam, a community-arts project infused with folk-art traditions that foster a creative culture in cooperative relationships. Born in Kernersville, North Carolina, I earned a M.Div. from Duke University Divinity School in 1986. I was an artist-in-residence at the de Young Museum, the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, and the Vermont Studio Center. Grants and Awards include Artadia: The Fund for Art and Dialogue, NY, the San Francisco Foundation and the San Francisco Arts Commission Cultural Equity Program. I received the 2014 Eureka Fellow, awarded by the Fleishhacker Foundation in San Francisco. My work has been featured in the LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, 7×7 Magazine, Artnet, the San Francisco Examiner, and Brian Boucher’s Daily Dispatch.

IMAGE: Cheesecake #2 2019, textiles, ceramics from CSULB ceramic program, 19 x 17 x 12 inches