When Shiro Muchiri founded SoShiro, her intent was clear – to create a platform that would authentically mirror the diversity of the world we live in. Investing in programming that offers patronage and visibility to new cultures and voices, Muchiri is working to remodel the design and art fraternity as a bridge for greater understanding.
Sharing in her intent, Brian Kennedy, the curator behind Crafting a Difference – the exhibition now receiving in-person guests at SoShiro’s Marylebone gallery – mined the portfolio of the show’s participating galleries to craft a thoughtful selection of artists and makers from around the world.
Amongst the 200+ collectable works that are part of Crafting a Difference at SoShiro, one stood out – Emmett Till by emerging British glassblower Chris Day. The piece was recently acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Day’s heart-breaking depiction of the brutal 1955 lynching of Emmett Till in a divided America – rendered in glass, terracotta, wire and wood – is emblematic of the artists’ manifesto.
“Through my work I wish to expose segments of history that have resided in the depths of society, hidden with none or little exposure and give them the light of day and the remembrance they deserve” says Day of how he seeks to approach subjects of race and the human experience through contemporary craft.
“The brutality of Till’s murder and the brave decision of his mother to have an open casket to expose those who had brutalised him created a passion in me to honour his name.”
“The Emmett Till piece by Chris Day has made this exhibition very special to me,” shares Muchiri. “Chris’ own personal journey towards being an artist and his passion for tackling such powerful historical events is very inspiring.”
It becomes particularly poignant when Muchiri explains the history of SoShiro’s Marylebone townhouse, the venue from where the V&A selected Day’s work for their collection: “History tells us that our building was once home to a naval cane trader who was part of the ‘New System of Slavery’. So, for this piece – by the only black British glass blower – to be acquired by the V&A while it is being proudly shown at SoShiro is quite special.”
Find out more about the exhibition and shop the collection here.