Look at the quilts of Gee’s Bend—working-class people making quilts that rival any of the abstract expressionists, their contemporaries—and you realize there is a way in which art is made for speaking from the bottom up.Christopher Myers, in an interview in Barron’s Penta, March 23, 2020
Christopher Myers, who was born in Queens, N.Y., and lives and works in Brooklyn, is an artist and writer whose work across disciplines is rooted in storytelling.
Myers delves into the past to create narratives that speak to the ways in which history and mythology are related and intertwined. His practice includes textiles, performance, film and sculptural objects, often created in collaboration with artists and makers from around the world. Throughout both his visual art and writing practices, Myers focuses on understanding the ways in which globalization is intimately connected to notions of self and community.
Hecate is a prime example of Myers’s fascination with myths and religious iconography across various times and cultures. In ancient Greek mythology and religion, Hecate is the goddess of magic and spells. She is often represented holding a torch, the tool she used to search for her daughter, Persephone, who was abducted to the underworld. Hecate is also known as a protector of the home and a guardian of borders.
In ancient Greece, pillars called Hecataea often framed doorways and portals to ward off evil spirits. Hecate is often depicted as a tripartite form—each figure standing back-to-back in order to look in all directions.
Myers is part of a lineage of artists for whom the seemingly domestic and ornamental quality of the tapestry belies a rich tradition of radical craft. This medium has created physical space and pathways for resistance and liberation within the handmade object. For Myers, the history of the material used to create his works is as important as the stories he is telling within them.
Art is really good at having an outsize voice, a voice that allows for Motown [in Detroit] to Burna Boy in Nigeria; for young, poor people to be able to speak to the masses. What’s sad is when the art world forgets that this is in our capacity—to speak from the bottom up.Christopher Myers, in an interview in Barron’s Penta, March 23, 2020