D. Denenge Akpem premiers "Luscious Garden" interactive "huggable" sculpture installation for "Warm Kitty, Soft Kitty."

As usual, I'm using West African textiles (including this sneak peek of a sculpture made from spooky hand and fingers cloth found in a market at home), awesome stretch knits and stripes from New Rainbow Fabrics on Roosevelt (best fabric store in the city!), bits of fur, and other strange, enticing elements from my collection.  In keeping with my ongoing themes of desire-repulsion and Afro-Futurism, I describe this installation as an overgrown garden with gargantuan flowers on acid. Inspiration includes thneeds from Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, Senga Nengudi's stocking and sand performative sculptures from 60s and 70s, Yinka Shonibare's alien family sculptures, and even Mike Kelley's sinister stuffed animal "compositions." 

"Warm Kitty, Soft Kitty"

September 6 - December 13, 2015

Hyde Park Art Center

Kanter McCormick Gallery

5100 S. Cornell, Chicago, IL

Opening reception Sunday, September 13, 3:00-5:00 p.m.


"Touch can be awkward, painful, therapeutic, malicious, nurturing, terrifying, sacred, erotic, anxiety inducing, lascivious, invigorating or exciting. Without touch we would not be able to survive.  Though a selection of photography, performance, video, and sculpture by curator Camille Morgan, the exhibition presents variations on the the act of feeling. The artists featured in the show address the emotional and sensational experience of touch and how it can be documented outside of individual memory to influence the creation of collective perceptions.

Connections between touch and sight create visual assumptions that also influence how societies communicate with one another. To challenge these visual assumptions and existing modes of communication, “Warm Kitty, Soft Kitty” reevaluates the role of individual memory and its potential to create collective empathy through imagination. “This exhibition aims to be a reintroduction for visitors to feel – both tactilely and emotionally,” adds Morgan."

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