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Living Color: Touching the Past, Present and Future Through Natural Dyes

April 24, 2019
Living color poster

Thursday, May 2nd, 2019 at 6pm -9pm at the Fredrick Douglass - Isaac Myers Maritime Park and Museum, 1417 Thames St. Baltimore MD 21231

We invite you to join us for the opening of an exhibition of artwork and research that explores the social, historical, and economic implications of the cultivation and use of natural dyes in Baltimore and beyond on Thursday, May 2 from 6-9pm.

Living Color was developed and curated collaboratively by students and community members in a class at MICA called "Natural Dye as Intercultural Connector." Every Friday since late January, students and faculty from MICA and Coppin State University - as well as artists, researchers and farmers from the Baltimore community - have worked together to learn about the complex histories of natural dyes and their uses.

Living Color investigates themes that arose from the work of the class, including: what it means to dye with plants that have held a spiritual, medicinal role in indigenous communities from Asia to West Africa to the Americas; how to honor these origins and acknowledge the harm that resulted from these dye materials having been commodified, and the keepers of this plant wisdom having been colonized or enslaved; how the growing and use of these plants can heal our relationships with the earth and with each other; and how learning about these ancient practices helps us develop our radical imagination of a more positive collective future.

The exhibition and the class are part of the Baltimore Natural Dye Initiative, which grew out of a 2017 visit by Maryland First Lady Yumi Hogan to the Natural Dyeing Cultural Center in Naju, South Korea. Funded by the Maryland Department of Commerce (through the Maryland State Arts Council) and the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, the Baltimore Natural Dye Initiative is a public-private partnership that includes MICA, the Maryland Agricultural and Resource-Based Industry Development Corporation, and Baltimore Development Corporation. Additional support for the exhibition comes from the Living Classrooms Foundation.