Thursday, November 10, 2011

Exhibit from Wellesley College at former Rugged Bear (34 Central Street)

This exhibit is made possible by Retail property owner Edens & Avant along with the support of the artists, Kelley Tialiou, Curatorial Assistant and Tour Coordinator, Davis Museum and Phyllis McGibbon, Professor of Studio Art and co-director of the Architecture program at Wellesley College.

The dresses were designed by Wellesley College students, inspired by the work of contemporary Ghanaian artist El Anatsui, who is best known for his sculptural pieces made of discarded metal bottle tops.

Viewers are asked "What meaning might the materials selected by these designers hold?"


The Davis Design Contest features the work of Wellesley student designers responding to the exhibition, El Anatsui: When I Last Wrote To You About Africa, on view at the Davis from March 30 to June 26, 2011.

Anatsui often draws inspiration from the traditional kente cloth of the Akan peoples of West Africa. In turn, Anatsui’s cloth-like works inspired our designers to create garments.

Like Anatusi, these designers have reused old materials— from computer parts to advertisements and bridal gowns— in surprising ways.

These projects are also informed by the artists’ lives and individual contexts, just as Anatsui’s work is deeply concerned with Africa’s history, challenges, and peoples. Each designer describes her work in her own words through the label that accompanies her design.

People voted for their favorite design in the contest by visiting the ballot box at the information desk. The top three designers were announced and awarded at the end of April 2011.

The Davis Design Contest was conceived during the Fall 2010 Museum Issues Seminar at Wellesley College, taught by Prof. Lisa Fischman, Ruth Gordon Shapiro ’37 Director of the Davis Museum.

It has been brought to fruition through the efforts of á la mode, Wellesley’s premiere fashion organization; Hey, Madeline, Wellesley’s only fashion magazine; the SCOOP, Wellesley’s sustainability co-operative; with major support of the Davis; the sponsorship of the Student Organization Funding Committee and the Committee on Lectures and Cultural Events; and, of course, the student designers.  

Marjorie Cantine ’13
Contest Coordinator

Far right

Katherine Scafuri ’11          
plexiglass and vellum scraps from architectural modeling projects, fabric
The organic, flexible nature of draping informs the design. The waves of the draping are punctured by the stiff plexi-glass to form a living dynamism in tribute to El Anatsui's aesthetic. 
Far Right

Pooja Reddy ’14       
plastic bags, recycled paper, used tablecloths, curtains, and belts         
The tight "bondage" bodice and the loose "freedom" grasslands skirt are juxtaposed to show a struggle between Western influence and African tradition.   


Nancy H. Welsh ’12  
recycled t-shirt and paper, table tents, glue, elastic
My goal was to create a sculptural garment that allowed the table tents, which are folded cards used to advertise campus events, to articulate themselves. The garment plays with the traditional draping of kente cloth and uses specific table tents to make a statement on gender politics.

Laura Salazar Altobelli ’12  
I wish the mannequin would move
used stockings, red string, copper wire, plexi-glass (originally from a construction site)
Mission: to explore the form of the body, interpreting it as an architectural site model.
In developing the representation of garment, the human body stimulates powerful inquiries in movement and stasis that may be articulated through the structural flexibility of material, its opacity and refraction.

Constance M. Yee ’11
The Things We Bought
jersey, used cigarettes, cardboard boxes, soda bottles, plastic bags, newspaper, and food wrappers
A hand-sewn triangulation of consumer culture, environment, and self-hood.

Far Left
Tricia Lu ’14
le trésor
aluminum cans, fabric from old clothing
El Anatsui’s metallic tapestries and his use of Adrinkra symbols in his artwork inspired this dress. I created this dress from aluminum cans, incorporating the Adrinka symbol “Aya,” which represents endurance and resourcefulness, characteristics of sustainability.

Abigail G. Hansen ’11
Media Machine Queen
recycled fashion newspapers, society pages, tabloids; garbage bags; PVA glue
One day you're on top of the world. The next, you find yourself at the bottom of a trash heap. Who are you? You are a celebrity who has been both built up and discarded by the almighty Media Machine. You have seen your face light up the magazine covers of every newsstand in the city, but you have also seen your face get rained on, stomped on by muddy galoshes and sucked down the gutter. If you’re a celebrity whose fame is perhaps slightly past its shelf life or even built on nothing but garbage in the first place, the trick is to look good as you rot. Then perhaps no one will notice your stench as you decay into yesterday's news.

Far Left

Elle Wibisono ’13
Batik Baru 
aluminum candle holders, food wrappers, soda cans, soda caps, hot wax, dye, fabric (cotton and silk), sequins 
This dress was made with the traditional Indonesian batik process, which uses hot wax and dye to create color and patterns on cloth. The rebirth and redefinition of batik by using recycled materials is a bold proof of my statement: Traditional is not at all primitive.

Far Right
Rebecca Ely ’13

thrifted shirts and found objects
Sustainability should be practical, affordable, and fun; so should fashion.  Here stands the fusion of possible and potential.

A resident artist volunteer helps load at the Davis Museum, Wellesley College

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