Originally from Woodruff SC, Toyé Durrah is a multi-platform artist currently based in Charlotte, NC. After earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC, he expanded his career with endeavors in both St. Paul and Minneapolis, MN, as well as time spent at Florida State University. With his most prior experience in mark-making and photography he pivoted into jewelry, woodwork, and textiles. These mediums became an amalgamation of the materials he uses in his practice of personal curation as a repeat geographical transplant as well as the internal curation of a self-assembled identity. His work undeniably reflects a patience that is uncharacteristic of the world we live in but his completely in alignment with his prioritization of detail, contemplation, and self-meditation.
Gaps in the line of ancestral and cultural memory are often the fodder for the self-introspection that is prominent in my work. This contemplative approach is reflective of my meditative process that consists of wrapped soft sculptures using cotton string, hand-dyed with onion skins and other natural resources. My work focuses on Indigenous and African peoples and the need to question our understanding of the intersection of these populations during America’s violent beginnings, particularly in the South. I prefer materials that have a relatively low impact on the environment which speaks to how resourceful these two demographics are. I chose this work because there is a navigation through a specific geographical labor. This labor also includes confronting truths about America’s historical Indigenous and African intersectionality as a form of justice. The beauty lies in the softness of the naturally dyed cotton and the visual results from a methodically tactile process.
I am equally introspective as self-critical, and fully committed to authenticity. I dive deep in art making that is most often heavily slow paced and thoughtful. The black Americans historically born on stolen land have woven identities. I have an artistic practice that often reflects an investigation of my personal relationship to this woven identity. I am from the Upstate South Carolina area with a nomadic track record that has ultimately led me back to the Carolinas. This accumulation of dwelling spaces, belongings, and relationships has further deepened my ideas of interior curation. Home becomes relative and nuanced, much like the diluted relationship to origins of identity.