"re-Adorned | Archiving Catharsis": a collaboration between photographer Tina Gutierrez and designer Da'Mon Butler, exploring the cultural memories of their respective Cuban-Appalachian and African-American heritage and experience in a series of studio photographs capturing the cathartic effect of Butler's adornments on the wearer's projection of personality. The images and their content combine fashion, movement and photographic impact to present a dramatic series that, like theatre, involves the viewer in the human struggle for identity and understanding.
A central influence in Da'Mon Butler's fashion design is the landfill—the open archive of our consumption, the fingerprint of our existence. Da'Mon reappropriates discarded and found materials into fine art fashion adornments that are intended to reappropriate the wearer's identity as well. Da'Mon's archival reordering of materials calls to a cultural memory of ancestral African attire, and asks all wearers, particularly African-American men, to reorder their personal archive of experience to transcend the burden of external history and its current consequence.
Tina Gutierrez creates a series of photos capturing the cause-effect relationship between the adornments and the wearer. The collaboration presents a cathartic human story that is reinterpreted with each telling and each viewing; and this is how the arts, the expression of our humanity, reveals, changes and heals us.
The series seeks to reincorporate items and people who have been omitted from traditional art history texts and mainstream fashion. Translating historical aspects of tribal African adornments in found and unexpected materials gives an importance to items, just as adorning the figure gives an importance to the person. The series documents the relationship between the linage of an adornment and its wearer. And through that revelatory presentation asks the viewers to re-see the materials, re-see people (particularly African-American men), and to re-see their world.