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Angela Hennessy’s  
Language Top 10


We asked one of our favorite artists working in textiles to submit a Top 10 list on the theme of Language. Each of the works Hennessy has chosen uses language in the literal sense, but also speaks to art’s attempt to address a universal humanity. In her list, as in her work, she centers blackness, race, death and grieving.
In no particular order:



Joseph Kosuth

One and three hammers. 1965






M Norbese Philip

Poems from Zong! 2008


Alfredo Jaar

Let There Be Light: The Rwanda Project. 1994-1998


Dana Whabira

Black Sunlight. 2017


Duane Kearns Puryear

The Names Project, Aids Memorial Quilt. 1991


James Van Der Zee

369th Regiment (World War I Regiment from Harlem). 1920


Carrie Mae Weems

From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried. 1991-1996


Closed on the account of the death of
Vintage funeral notice


Stefan Bruggemann

This Work Should Be Turned Off When I Die. 2010

Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook

The Class, video still. 2005




Angela Hennessy is an Oakland based artist and Co-founder of See Black Womxn.
She is an Associate Professor at California College of the Arts where teaches courses on visual and cultural narratives of death and textile theory. Through writing, studio work, and performance, her practice questions assumptions about Death and the Dead themselves. She uses a spectrum of color and other phenomena of light to expose mythologies of identity. Ephemeral and celestial are forms constructed with every day gestures of domestic labor—washing, wrapping, stitching, weaving, brushing, and braiding.

In 2015, she survived a gunshot wound while interrupting a violent assault on the street in front of her house. Her manifesto, The School of the Dead, was written in the following months of recovery. Alternating between poem, prayer, and call to action, The School of the Dead is in development as an educational program for aesthetic and social practices that mediate the boundary between the living and the dead. She lectures and teaches workshops nationally.

As a hospice volunteer, she has worked with families on home funerals, death vigils, and grief rituals. She is certified in the Grief Recovery Method and trained with Final Passages and the International End of Life Doula Association. She serves on the advisory boards of Recompose and Death Salon. She lectures and teaches workshops nationally.

Her work has been featured in Sculpture Magazine, The New Yorker, Nat Brut, Surface Design Journal, Textile: The Journal of Cloth and Culture and recently in exhibitions at The Museum of the African Diaspora, Pt. 2 Gallery, and Southern Exposure. She has upcoming exhibitions at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles and the Oakland Museum of California. She is a San Francisco Artadia Award winner and has participated in Facebook AIR program and the Mesa Refuge Writer’s Residency.

Unidentified Grieving Objects. 2017. Synthetic hair, artist’s hair. Wall installation, dimensions variable



Black Rainbow Portal. 2018. Synthetic and human hair, artist’s hair, sheet copper, black glitter, LED light strip. 42” diameter





Left to Right:
Black Oracles 4. 2019. Synthetic and human hair, artist’s hair, hair rollers and foam foundations, wood spools, felted wool balls, athletic tape, twist ties, wire, ivory soap, gold leaf, copper sheet, plumbing parts. 22” H x 8” DIA


Black Oracles 3. 2019. Synthetic and human hair, artist’s hair, hair rollers and foundations, foam, wood spools, felted wool balls, athletic tape, twist ties, wire, ivory soap, gold leaf, copper sheet, plumbing parts. 22”H x 5” DIA

Bling (installation view). 2018. Synthetic and human hair, artist ’s hair, hair rollers and foam foundations, foam, athletic tape, twist ties, wire, chenille stems, velcro, enamel paint, 24k gold leaf, copper sheet, glitter, black lava sea salt, pigment, steel knobs, wooden rings, plumbing parts. wall installation, 16’H x 13’W

The Setting of a Black Sun. 2019. Synthetic and human hair, artist’s hair, twist tie wire. 9’H x 8’W