Melissa Joseph

Region: Northeast


City / State: BROOKLYN, NY

One of the things my father brought with him from India in 1972 was a particularly enthusiastic affinity for colors, patterns, and materials. This affinity survived the border unscathed as it was free, invisible, and impossible to confiscate by customs or immigration officials. It may be the most tangible part of culture that he shared with us, since he tried so hard to assimilate to“American” life and culture.

We grew up with rainbows on our furniture, on our walls, on our bodies, and on our plates. This constant interaction with shiny, soft, dazzling, crinkly materials forms the infrastructure of my memory, my relationship to the world, and my identity. It was my first language.

Since then, I have studied textiles formally—their science, history, and production—and worked as a textile designer and educator. They are frequently put to work in my practice, as I continue to search for answers to questions about how bodies—particularly POC bodies and bodies that identify as women—are permitted to move through space.