Profile: Ramekon O’Arwisters (1960-)

Ramekon O’Arwisters is an African-American artist, best known for his fabric and social-art practice, Crochet Jam. He creates art using the folk-art tradition of rag-rug weaving. Ramekon’s work has been exhibited in New York, North Carolina, Tokyo, Bologna, Miami Beach, and San Francisco. He is also the former curator of fine-art photography at SFO Museum.

Early life and education

Ramekon was born in Kernersville, North Carolina. He grew up on a farm. His parents worked in a cotton factory in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He finished college at the University of North Carolina in 1982 with a B.A. in psychology and political science. In 1986, he earned a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree from Duke University School of Divinity in Durham, North Carolina. Ramekon now resides in San Francisco.

Career

Ramekon’s work is informed by a cherished childhood memory that is steeped in the African-American tradition of weaving and quilting. Ramekon explores the context of resistance and conformity, between control and freedom by weaving free-form, organic fabric sculptures. He is the recipient of the 2014 Eureka Fellowship Award administered by the Fleishhacker Foundation and the Artadia Award in 2003.

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