Diedrick Brackens: ark of bulrushes

Diedrick Brackens

Diedrick Brackens: ark of bulrushes

 Mint Museum Randolph

July 16-December 11, 2022

About the exhibition

ark of bulrushes presents a new series by Los Angeles-based artist Diedrick Brackens including large-scale (8-feet) weavings and premiering the artist’s first woven sculptures. Known for making colorful textiles about African American and queer histories, Brackens has developed a process of combining the tactility of yarn with the ethos of storytelling. For this exhibition, the artworks tell timeless narratives about emancipation and remediation through pattern, body, and the power of craft.

In addition to being one of the most innovative and important artists on the rise in the United States, Brackens work incorporates traditions important to the Southern region —  baskets that relate to Cherokee nation and the Gullah people, quilts that resonate with all cultures, but a particular exploration of quilts in the African-American historical narrative.  Brackens’ deeply colored weavings pull imagery from 19th-century Freedom Quilts — used as a communication tool by enslaved people traveling along the Underground Railroad — and star constellations that have been used to navigate the external world and internal psyche for thousands of years. The central focus of Brackens’ artwork always returns to the Black body represented in form or implied in absence.

Intertwined with the patterns are dynamic human figures mimicking animals associated with constellations. This positioning aligns the body within the cosmic proportions of the universe, inferring empowerment of the individual and of a people.

The sculptural basket boats in this exhibition take different forms that reference the human body in communion with nature. The ark is Brackens’ sculptural prototype of a boat that he hopes to float on the Mississippi River. Made with enough room for a passenger to sit upright or lie down, the body and boat can float and bob down the river as one.

The floating of reed basket boats is significant in legends of deliverance, including the Biblical story of the exodus of the Israelites where an “ark of bulrushes” carried the infant Moses up the Nile River. Taking its name from this story, ark of bulrushes gestures to craft itself as a form of mythology — the passing on of tradition, technique, and narrative. Brackens practices textile craft with unique vision and perspective, spinning new definitions of what it means to live today.

‘Diedrick Brackens: ark of bulrushes’ Opening Celebration

Saturday, July 16 | 11 AM-6 PM
Mint Museum Randolph

1 PM | Moving with the Spirit, a dance and drum performance of African Diaspora Arts.

2 PM – 3 PM | Artist Diedrick Brackens and Lauren R. O’Connell, curator at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Arts and curator of the ark of bulrushes, discuss the evolution of the exhibition, the agency of contemporary craft, and expansive possibilities of artist-curator collaborations.

The Mint’s iteration of the exhibition also includes three additional components that enhance the core installation of Brackens work, including woven and quilted works from the Mint, drawing heavily from the historic quilt collection and the extensive collection of Native American basketry; an installation of North Carolina weavers and a visitor engagement area with response walls and extensive resources from the Mint’s Library and Archives that elaborate on these important craft traditions and methods.  

Diedrick Brackens: ark of bulrushes

About the artist

Diedrick Brackens, artist headshot
Diedrick Brackens

Diedrick Brackens (born 1989, Mexica, TX; lives and works in Los Angeles, CA) is best known for his weavings that explore narratives about queerness, masculinity, and the Black experience in the United States. His work incorporates elements of West-African weaving, American quilting, and European tapestry-making, as well as histories associated with craft. Bracken’s work has been shown in solo exhibitions at the New Museum, New York, NY; Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, TX; Oakville Galleries, Ontario, Canada; Alabama Contemporary Art Center, Mobile, AL; The University of the South, Sewanee, TN; and Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita, KS. Select group exhibitions include Plumb Line: Charles White and the Contemporary, California African American Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Ear to the Ground: Earth and Element in Contemporary Art, New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA; Made in L.A. 2018, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Material Futurity, Macalester College, Saint Paul, MN; and The Possible, UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, CA. Brackens received a master of fine arts from the California College of the Arts, San Francisco, and a bachelor of fine arts from University of North Texas, Denton. The artist is a recipient of the United States Artists Fellowship (2021), Marciano Artadia Award (2019), American Craft Council Emerging Artist Award (2019), and The Studio Museum in Harlem’s Wein Prize (2018).

Diedrick Brackens: ark of bulrushes is organized by Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) and curated by Lauren R. O’Connell. Support provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and S. Rex and Joan Lewis Foundation.

Learning & Engagement and Community Outreach programming for this exhibition is generously supported by Windgate Foundation. The Mint Museum is supported in part by the Infusion Fund and its generous donors, and the North Carolina Arts Council.

Thank you to our media partners QCity Metro and Queen City Nerve.

Coveted Couture Gala

The Mint Museum Presents


Coveted Couture Gala
Closing Celebration of The World of Anna Sui


Saturday, April 30, 2022
6:30 PM | Mint Museum Randolph

If interested in joining the waitlist, please email Lauren Hartnagel, advancement event coordinator

Gala chairs: Marty & Weston Andress


2022 Auction and Paddle Raise Items


The Mint Museum invites you to attend the 2022 Coveted Couture Gala and closing celebration of the exhibition The World of Anna Sui. The black-tie dinner, held on the lawn of Mint Museum Randolph, will feature a cocktail hour, seated dinner, paddle raise, and dancing to famed Broadway musical artist Allison Seemes and Big Swing and the Ballroom Blasters.

The annual Coveted Couture Gala brings together key museum stakeholders, including major donors, corporate leadership, civic and community leaders, museum patrons and members, artists, and designers to celebrate the Mint’s significant role in the community and region. Most importantly, this event is the largest annual fundraiser for the Mint Annual Fund, which supports compelling and diverse exhibitions, educational outreach, community engagement, and the preservation of the Mint’s treasured permanent collection.

Coveted Couture Gala and The World of Anna Sui are generously presented by PNC Bank.

Marty and Weston Andress

Todd A. Herman, PhD
President & CEO

Hillary Cooper
Chief Advancement Officer

The 2022 Coveted Couture Gala is generously presented by:

Rosalía Torres-Weiner: Guiding Winds

Installation is on view now

About The Artist

The history of humanity is a story of movement—groups migrating over land and water, carrying their ancestral practices with them. Traces remain, even when a tribe has moved on or hostile outsiders try to erase those traditions. Stories and symbols integrate, creating cultural strata that create a timeline of all who lived on a land. The maps and explanations throughout museum galleries illustrate this—sometimes overtly, other times subtly.  

Rosalía Torres-Weiner began her story in Mexico City and then emigrated north to the United States, first to Los Angeles and then east to Charlotte, where she has lived for over 25 years. Self-taught, she started as a mural artist and has since developed a studio practice that encompasses traditional painting, theater performance, arts education, and augmented reality. She balances technological innovation with the ancient symbols of her Latinx heritage, melding indigenous and European traditions.  

Over the last decade, Torres-Weiner has increasingly focused on the stories of other travelers, especially undocumented children living in the United States. She has developed arts programs specifically to help young people process the trauma that develops from extended periods of anxiety—and for many, the loss of one or both parents because of deportation. Torres-Weiner now calls herself an “ARTivist,” the better to encompass her role as artist, muralist, and social activist.  

“I wanted to bring arts to our community, especially now that people are afraid to go out to buy groceries and bread. My idea is to bring the arts to underserved neighborhoods and provide art workshops, especially for children. Art is powerful and not just to hang on the wall. It’s a weapon to express our stories.” 

Rosalia Torres-Weiner’s installation for Interventions can be found in the “Art of the Ancient Americas” collection on the second floor of Mint Museum Randolph

Echoes of My Ancestors 2022, acrylic on canvas. On loan from the artist.

• Immigrant Woman 2018, Mixed media on mannequin. On loan from the artist.

• A Seat at the Table, acrylic and textile on chair. On loan from the artist.

• The Dreamers Series, acrylic on canvas and bucket. On loan from the artist.

Moon and the Rabbit, acrylic on canvas. On loan from the artist.

Untitled 2022, acrylic on canvas. On loan from the artist.

Interventions is a new series at the Mint in which contemporary works are placed amongst permanent collection installations to create a critical dialogue between past and present.


Interventions: Unearthing Jade

Interventions is a new series at the Mint in which contemporary works are placed amongst permanent collection installations to create a critical dialogue between past and present.

Installation is on view now

Charlotte artist and muralist Irisol Gonzalez relocated with her family to the United States from Costa Rica. When they moved, their traditional gatherings and family heirlooms lost their geographical specificity. Gonzalez mines these traditions for the stories contained within the installation Unearthing Jade. Most often, the bedrock she finds there is machismo, the elevation and celebration of masculine strength and pride above all else. Gonzalez’s installation reminds us that art begins as a reflection of its time and engagement with culture, and, over time, becomes an artifact of that moment.

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Where to find it

“Art of the Ancient Americas” gallery on the second floor of Mint Museum Randolph

Lavarse Las Manos,2020, acrylic on linen. On loan from artist.

• Quinceañera #1 & #2, 2021, acrylic on linen.

• A Woman’s Cycle, 2021, acrylic on linen. On loan from the artist.

• A Cycle of Pain, 2021, acrylic on linen. On loan from the artist.

Adorning Value, 2021, Resin. On loan from the artist.

Machismo #9, 2021, acrylic on wood. On loan from the artist.

Machismo #10, 2021, acrylic on wood. On loan from the artist.

Burial axe, jadeite, On loan from the artist

Advertencia Mamás Machistas, 2020, screen print on plastic. On loan from the artist