CraftTexas 2022 Juror’s Statement

As someone who grew up and spent a large part of my formative years in Texas, jurying this exhibition was a very special and dear appointment. With an outstanding number of applications, this also proved to be an exciting and challenging task, particularly with the task to curate a craft exhibition that would reflect or be representative of such a large and diverse state. I was quickly engrossed by the diverse practices, voices, approaches, and perspectives that the group of applications proposed, and with engaged attention and thought, began to listen to and assess the various messages that spoke loudly and intersectionally throughout the group.

What coalesced from spending time with all the entries and methodically pulling selections is a somber exhibition that addresses a history and lineage in craft thought, while at the same time challenging some of the preconceived definitions, histories, and cannons that have commonly been upheld through craft. Throughout the exhibition, one will encounter more nuanced and poetic approaches to identity politics, personal histories, and communal experiences. Upon closer inspection, one can begin to see interconnecting threads that speak to individual histories of struggle or resilience, memory and meaning embedded into materials and processes, along with trauma and joy transmitted and upheld by objects that connect us to past and contemporary histories of the communities that make up geographic and political regions.

Chinese Herbal Medicines, siding from a Vietnamese shrimper boat, fruits that are forbidden to cross into the United States, a variety of histories and stories permeate the exhibition, materializing into different forms and objects that question and highlight their often-non-objective meanings and identity or politically charged histories. Like the works made from some of these materials, many of the questions or ideas addressed by the artists in the exhibition are not easy or lightly addressed and often challenge not only our expectations of craft but at times also challenge our own experiences, and even the institutional infrastructures through which they are shown.

 – Andres Payan Estrada