Groundation, an installation by Chicago based, Jamaican artist Yasmin Spiro, utilizes the fence at the Arts Club of Chicago as a structure to build a semi-transparent weaving that is an homage to Jamaican wicker weaver and Rastafarian, Sylvester (also known as Bongo Silly) who created an immersive woven wicker environment in his home in St. Ann, Jamaica (1970’s -80’s) that also functioned as an important part of the local community. Originally called Lions Den, it was a gathering place for both locals and visitors, and as a Rasta, Sylvester viewed weaving as mediation and practice of communing with other planes of existence. The word ‘groundation’ in Rastafarianism is a term for a ceremony or gathering that is meant to express the connection of a culture to its roots and the connection of an individual to its tribe.
This work is an extension of Spiro’s interest in the creation of sacred spaces, particularly ones that utilize vernacular architecture and craft, removed from traditional religious uses. It ties into her own cultural experiences and is a tribute to this early artistic influence that explores the act of making as a spiritual practice—not connected to art in the western or traditional sense—and community activity, as other weavers joined in the process of creating this environment.
Architecture is intertwined with the history of weaving, with the grid pattern and intersection of structures reflecting the skeletons of buildings and more directly in vernacular architecture, literally using weaving as its main form. Using the architecture of the fence and the environment of the garden for the creation of this weaving, the project will be both an installation and performance as other weavers will be invited to add to the work during the time it is exhibited.