Calli Roche

Calli Roche, Journey Inside, 2021. Image courtesy the artist 

My recent works evolved from thoughts surrounding classism and exceptionalism in the African diasporic community. My attempt at externalizing the tension between innate, inherited, ancestral values and indoctrinated western values; creating space for Black mediocrity as a site of critique, for re-evaluating Black entanglements with capitalism and western ideas of prosperity.

My works as invitations to a reverie. We have yet to “arrive”, we are still in a hold; the hold. I am constructing portals, doors, exits, but without the “other side” of such thresholds. Instead, they remain spaces within which Black people can envision collective futures. These highly charged references and materials sit in contrast to what is, in the end, my attempt at building a space of rest for myself, and for others, to dream.

Calli Roche (she/they) is a Brooklyn-based artist whose own creative lineage lies in tailoring and dressmaking. Their great grandfather was a tailor in St. Kitts; great aunt, a dressmaker in the Bronx; and great uncle a costume maker for the Birmingham, UK carnival. Like so many Black people, poor people, and Black poor women, Calli has often tailored their creativity to an income-generating praxis. The art practices of many Black women still reference these “practical” skills, disrupting western distinctions between art and craft. Frequently working with reclaimed materials, which take on varied ontological significance, yet frequently reference the fraught relationships between violence, identity, and sexuality. Calli uses their sewing and pattern-making background to create artifacts to reflect and reference socio-political narratives.

Calli has shown at the Colored Girls Museum in Philadelphia, Housing Gallery NY, Galerie Perrotin, and Galerie Kandlhofer in Vienna. They are the recipient of the 2021 NYFA/NYSCA Artist Fellow in Interdisciplinary Work and is part of the 2021 inaugural cohort of Artists in Residence at Field Projects Gallery.