Tsehai Johnson: Biennial Resident

Residency: July 1 – July 30, 2010
Exhibition: opens August 5, Riverfront Park Suites #170
Exhibition continues through August 27, 2010
A Special Biennial of the Americas Residency

Table Lessons

Tsehai Johnson: Table Lessons is concerned with tying the big notions of sustainability and community with the microscopic concerns that might be read as the biography of the world’s rank and file whose daily lives are often unsung. Recently my work has explored the tensions, connections and social networks formed through shared meals and drinks with particular attention paid to the role of the plate in these interactions. With this project I highlight the social networks formed amongst people as they come together, share some time over a table and discuss the everyday needs that sustain them.

On the Riverfront
She says Michael, draw me a strawberry.
So I draw her a strawberry.
She transfers fruit to plates
with her own form
of magic. Tableware inspired
by friends and strangers.
What do you eat and why and how and where?

We share a meal on a thoroughfare.
Used to be a viaduct above.
Sometimes you’d find the homeless dead
right here. Here where we sit at our table.

More than make it new,
innovation is make it better.

Michael she says draw me a strawberry.
I draw her a strawberry.
You choose the future you will
enable, draw strawberries
when she calls.

~ Dee Casalaina, 2010

Born in Ethiopia in 1966, Tsehai attended Reed College, Massachusetts College of Art, and the University of Colorado. Exhibitions and collections include Foothills Art Center, White Columns, Fort Collins Museum of Contemporary Art, Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, World Ceramic Biennale, and Museum of Ceramics. She is the recipient of a Colorado Council of the Arts Fellowship and residencies in Spain and Iceland.

EAT AND/OR BE EATEN: Obsessions of a Guest at a Dinner Party Held on the Sidewalk, in haiku

dinner, dining room
these connect as they should, as…
loitering, sidewalk
dinner on tablecloth
on pleasant dining table
but, then, on sidewalk
dinner on sidewalk
among signs, benches, hipsters
rollerblading past
cutlery at hand
silver forks, knife for chicken…
that dude’s knife bigger…
each unique plate choice
looks the same in the spot where
the potatoes mash
the guy on the bench
over there, in the plaid shorts,
seems predatory
to take it outside
live life without our home’s walls
among carnivores
eating, choosing plates
private acts done in public
we move by hunger
where hunger moves us
the world’s hunger moves too
to the same table
which, as was mentioned,
our hostess has place with care
here, on the sidewalk

~ J Diego Frey – August 4th, 2010