Elezyia Mshimbika
(For the Ancestors)

Stoll knit cotton and acrylic
76" x 162"
(193 cm x 411.48 cm)


Elezyia Mshimbika means an offering for your ancestors. There is a place in the garden where one usually pours out a traditional brew in remembrance, but in this case I’m presenting my own kind of offering to my grandmothers, both of whom passed away recently. This piece, as well as the others in this body of work, honor how grounded and practical these two women were and how much labor (of all kinds) they put in for their families. The visual offering is of a truck-load of goods, piled high as they would be in transit, placed in front of a tortoise shell pattern representing something only royalty would have. It means to say, “We dearly and deeply hope you don’t have to lift a finger in heaven” to the women who have done far too much work for others around them. To others, it declares, “Marvel at what these women have created!” There is a respect for labor, especially for traditionally women’s work. At this large scale, day to day objects look dignified and almost regal, and as fabric– the whole image is constructed from yarn– they are comforting and soft, referencing the softness that is socially and historically expected to come with women’s labor.