Over the course of five months working with more than 150 individuals in two countries, Monica Jahan Bose created 60 saris for WRAPture, a large-scale outdoor project that recently went on display in southeast D.C.
The temporary public art project combined the Anacostia community in D.C. and Katakhali Village on Bangladesh’s Barobaishdia Island to activate saris with art and and drape them across five buildings in historic Anacostia.
Birthed from Bose’s ongoing six-year Storytelling with Saris project, these massive colorful cotton handloom saris have been covered with customized woodblock printing, hand-painted images, and writings about climate change by Bose and residents of the two communities. A team of installers and the community gathered with Bose on April 2 and April 4 to complete the WRAPture installation.
The blue and green saris on Good Hope Road symbolize water, storms, and sea level rise. The purple-pink saris on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue represent women’s resilience in the face of climate change and the disparate gender (and economic and racial) impacts of climate change.
WRAPture opened on April 4, the assassination date of Martin Luther King Jr., in a predominantly African-American neighborhood as a gesture of solidarity across communities of color.
The exhibition, which was on display at Anacostia Arts Center on April 4 and April 14, will show once more on May 9 with a closing reception at the We Act Radio studio on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue.
The project is supported by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities Public Art Building Communities Grant Program and led by Bose, a Bangladeshi-American artist and activist.
“The Earth has a fever, and we need to work fast to reduce our use of fossil fuels drastically,” Bose said. “When we understand the impact of our energy use, we can make a difference as individuals despite governmental inaction. WRAPture, through the power of hands-on art, empowers and brings us together as a community in solidarity with each other.”
Since its November kickoff, WRAPture has worked with 12 women in Katakhali, Bangladesh, and over 150 D.C. residents, including youth from Project Create, formerly homeless women, hearing-impaired individuals, and people of all ages, genders and incomes.
The inclusive project ensures that all events are accessible by wheelchair and sign and other language interpreters are provided as needed.
Participating residents of Anacostia and Katakhali Village were paid for their work during the sari workshops, as they learned about climate change and renewable energy. They also wrote poetry and sang songs about climate as they worked on the saris, which will later be worn as garments by the women of Katakhali.
The project includes an outdoor sound installation with songs and sounds from Katakhali and Anacostia collected by Bose and area youth.
PUBLIC ART INSTALLATION LOCATIONS
* Installation hubs: Anacostia Arts Center (1231 Good Hope Rd. SE) and We Act Radio (1918 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE)
* Adjacent wrapped buildings: Anacostia Business Center, Check It, and District Culture buildings
* May 9, viewing hours from 3 p.m. – 8 p.m., closing reception @ We Act Radio from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.