Using the slow meditative process of needle felting, Tobiah Mundt transfers empathy and personal emotion into sculpted fiber. Raw wool is poked thousands of times with a barbed needle to produce dream-like objects and moments of a narrative that function as tools to process and unburden experience. Tobiah uses machine tufting to bring texture and color into the stories that she builds.
Tobiah writes, “I hold my breathe during moments of fear like when I’m driving in a rural area, when my kids go outside alone, when a Black or Brown person's murder goes unpunished. I also hold my breath during moments of joy like when I see a new-to-me Black artist, when I meet Black people because I know we share a thing, when I listen to Black musicians and read Black authors.”
During her Fellowship at New City Arts in June 2021, Tobiah will use experiences of held-breath to illustrate the destruction left by each held breath caused by racism and fear and the beauty that grows with each held breath whose cause was hope and pride. She will construct large, inflatable fabric lungs, as well as several small lung models to illustrate damages caused by holding one's breath in fearful situations and how that damage is healed with hope.
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