Industrial designer and educator, Teague perceives design as an agent of cultural change and as a mechanism to empower black communities. Famously named the creative collaborator on the exhibitions team for the Barack Obama Presidential Library, he creates furniture charged with a strong racial and personal identity. With a special edition of his "Sinmi" plywood stool, which prototype was first introduced at the Art Institute of Chicago, and with the debut of his new “Africana” collection (comprised of a dining chair; rocking chair; and an unfinished table which is being ritually carved and inscribed by the community of visitors to the gallery), the exhibition will be open through January 14th, 2021.
I loved the stool. It is like no other seat I have ever seen. You can use this experimental piece of furniture in a variety of informal ways. The inspiration came from Teague's life in Chicago as an African American artist. Entitled 'Sinmi,' which means “to relax” in Yoruba, the ethnic language of Western African countries, the stool comes to make us questios what we know about seating and its customs which have been rooted in western canon. It comes to introduce us to an entirely different posture, which I enjoyed. In time, when Black Art is experiencing creative period and recognition, when museums and private collectors are eager to discover the way in which black artists succeed in capturing collective identity and memory, the work of Teague is particularly relevant.
The edition of 25 in three different styles of veneer and seating materials is produced by Teague and a community of Black artisans on the South Side of Chicago, with a shared goal of building a sustainable industry of design. With his 'Africana' collection, Teague enters a dialogue with West African rituals and craftsmanship, when carving pieces in solid basswood, at his Norman Teague Design Studios. Edition of 10 The ”Africana” collection makes its debut in the exhibition with a chair and rocking chair, each carries a unique carved decoration. The basswood frames are digitally fabricated by Max Davis; the leather seats crafted by Yohance Lacour, with inscriptions by Teague.