In September 2017 the Oakland gallery Pro Arts featured Past Presence, a joint exhibition of separately produced but thematically linked works by the artists Indira Allegra and Christopher R. Martin. What tied the two artists’ concerns together was precisely the question of the tie itself: the weave, the fold, the thread, and the tangle. As the description of the exhibition read, Past Presence was a “response to the politicized trauma in Black contemporary life through the medium of weaving,” whether in Allegra’s “digital weaving” of audio and images of black families grieving for victims of police violence, or in Martin’s large black-and-white cotton-based tapestries depicting symbols of trauma and resistance. Particularly striking were three of Martin’s side-by-side tapestries that each depicted the knot of a noose, all tilted at an italicized angle so as to look like the Satanic number 666—evoking...

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