I first featured one of these black, embroidered plastic bags a couple of months ago and wasn’t sure of who the artist was. Thanks to the power of the internet and its detectives (namely Kristen Kieffer,) I found out that they were crafted by Nicoletta de la Brown. She’s now a Baltimore-based artist that grew up in New York. Here’s a short statement about her series, El Barrio Bodega:
From my series of embroidered corner-store grocery bags. Rescued from the gutter; blowing down the street like city tumbleweed. I reclaim and elevate what once was discarded by creating embellished art objects. Growing up in Brooklyn and Harlem I’d visit my block’s bodega daily, with pennies in hand, and leave with priceless treasures. More than just bags, they reflect a sense of pride for my neighborhood and are a symbol of my cultural identity.
The juxtaposition of discarded objects and colorful adornment is partially what makes these pieces so beautiful. Bags like this are often hastily discarded, while the embroidery on them takes a lot of time (and patience). I love the collision of two different worlds.
All images via Nicoletta’s Baker Artist Award page.