Zora Ilunga-Reed

In my textile practice, I aim to feel beyond reality, intothe surreal and radically liberated realms beyond.

I make 2- and 3-D pieces, primarily using recycled fabrics.Here, strong, direct lines meet organic shapes, curves, and folds in colorsdrawn from the natural world. My work dances between the figurative andabstract: I often transcribe from dreamscapes, where the lines between the twoare blurry.

I was taught many of my techniques in childhood throughWaldorf education. I am interested in how the nostalgia and patience inherentin hand-work juxtaposes a future-oriented sense of urgency, given imminentclimate catastrophe and the hellishness of late-stage capitalism.

Getting at this tension, in my practice, I explore how theimagination and subconscious spark radical change. I’m inspired and influencedby folktales, mythologies, and mania. Old stories prompt me to question the newones; psychosis demonstrated to me the mind’s abundant capacity to alterreality.

My practice is both an escape from and an investigation ofmy mind and its conditioning. I hope that folks who see my work get curiousabout their minds’ capacity to create reality, that they question the storiesthey’ve been told, and start to stitch together new ones.

I was born and raised in New York City where I attended The Nightingale-Bamford School, graduating in 2018. In 2023, I graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in Philosophy and African Literatures.

My work has been shown in New York at Westbeth Gallery, Spirit del Art Gallery, and 457 Broome Street. In California, I've shown at The Grove in Frost Amphitheater.

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