The Khyber’s latest window installation, titled Secrets Are Reparations For Microaggressions, is the sort of radical softness this world needs more of: Artists Kiona Callihoo Ligtvoet and Sanaa Humayun created the exhibit’s central work—a multi-coloured, embroidered quilt made of raw whispers—as a place to develop the secret-sharing their friendship’s based on. (Swapping stories of past microaggressions is how the two creatives originally bonded, explains The Khyber: “They learned who to trust and who to be wary around. They gave each other a gentle place to rest,” a press release for the show says.)
Soon, their joint pooling of private narratives saw the pair making patches for each other—what the gallery describes as a “physical manifestation” of the connection the two were building. These quilted patches often have hidden compartments to keep the secrets secret. (No, this show isn’t an exercise in spilling tea or airing dirty laundry).
But what’s left, then, for the viewer to see? Snippets of truth uncovered in sometimes-bold, often-shaky, always emotionally resonant hand embroidery, which are sprinkled over a floral background. Pockets reading ‘Enemy List Enclosed’ are all the more enticing because your hands will never pry them open. Patches stating in a small, cramped font ‘I don’t want us to work to death’ will bring a dadaist familiarity: You’ve felt a shade of this same hue, even if it’s been for different reasons.
Stop by the Khyber’s window—viewable 24/7 at 1880 Hollis Street—with your BFF in tow, and do some secret-sharing of your own as a post-show chaser. Secrets Are Reparations For Microaggressions is on view until September 5.