Chason Yeboah, Artist – Toronto

Chason Yeboah is an African-Caribbean self-taught textile sculptor, doll maker, and story-teller exploring the oscillation of ancestral communion through woven, reconstructed, and (un) raveled structures. Many of her works directly focus on themes of shame, loss of identity, sexuality, the notion and practice of self-love, and an acknowledgement of the human form, with a primary focus on marginalized folks. Her desire is to explore the interconnectivity of these themes and, be it through her inclusive dolls, personification structures, or “safe space” creations, provoke more conversation on communal awareness. Her work is included in the group exhibition Present Being, which opens on October 26 at Samara Contemporary and continues until November 17.

  1. Playing

Finding opportunities to have fun “for no reason” is a major priority of mine, and I mean playing like I did when I was a child. Running into a sprint out of nowhere and daring my adult friends to “catch me if you can.” Pulling a little stuffed doll out of my bag and making it say funny things. Being at home, and speaking and pretending with a potential imaginary friend. As we age, we tend to forget about the things that make us learn, lead us to wonder, and enable us to dream beyond that which is physically possible. When I take opportunities to be silly and consciously play, it surprises me how much I learn about myself.

  1. African house music/instrumental Afrobeat

As a crochet sculptor who works in 3D, the movements I make while I work are very repetitive. That repetition releases serotonin in my brain and places me in a state of reverie. These movements pair beautifully with the meditative sounds of Afrobeat, soft house, and African house music. I can go a whole six hours while working and not even notice!

  1. Speaking to my ancestors

I do not consciously practice any African traditional religions, but I firmly believe in some of the practices that they entail – one of them being the power of the spoken word. Speaking to my ancestors is just another way for me to seek guidance and allow me to verbally hold myself accountable for wanting that guidance. Showing respect daily to those who came before me allows me to see a clear path to what it is I am trying to achieve. In other words, speaking to my ancestors is a quiet, reflective, and meditative moment when I can set my intentions, clear my mind, and speak clearly and openly to what is happening in my life.

  1. Podcast binging

I am currently obsessed with listening to podcasts. I love to set an intention for the day, like, “I’m going to clean and organize my workspace” and then just put on a good podcast and go to town. I enjoy listening to the ones that are black owned and run, ones that heal, make me laugh, and talk about relevant (to me) issues, but aren’t too serious. I enjoy learning, but I also don’t want to have to pay too much attention. Some of my favourites right now are: The Read with Crissle and Kid Fury, Small Doses with Amanda Seales, and A Little Juju Podcast with Juju Bae.

  1. Making breasts!

My mother told me that I was breastfed for much longer than I needed to be, and I think it really has something to do with my obsession with breasts today! When I have a moment or two, I usually work on breast sculptures or I create stress balls in the shape of breasts that you can squish. I aim to change the narrative on this body part, focusing more on comfort rather than sexuality. Bringing us back to that original form of comfort… the breast. I have been making a lot of crocheted tiles that will eventually become a quilt of many different breasts when it’s all said and done.