Come Clean

Tamara Huxtable

October 2 — November 24, 2018

+15 Window Exhibition

Exhibition Description

Come Clean is a series of handkerchiefs cross-stitched with racist statements that have been related to me by friends and acquaintances. These handkerchiefs play with the notion that politicization begins at home, or in this case, from within. For this ongoing project, I ask people to engage in the difficult task of identifying their own racist behaviors, which I then synthesize into a short statement to be painstakingly stitched onto vintage handkerchiefs. Through this exercise, I aim to show that racism is so deeply ingrained in society that it appears through our actions, even though we may consider ourselves to be “good people”. I believe that to counteract this, we must not be afraid of our flaws, but on the contrary, we must identify them in order to continue to grow. Being a good person is not a constant condition, it is a practice.

My use of both material and method are quite intentional. The handkerchief is traditionally used to wipe a brow, blow a nose, or to dab tears; all bodily processes of emission. It can be said that the act of admitting to shameful conduct can be felt in the body as well, as if something is being pulled/pushed out. I chose to implement cross-stitch because of it’s homey, familiar aesthetic. These are challenging conversations to have with ourselves and each other, but they don’t have to be, especially if we choose to invest time and energy into them much more often.


Huxtable earned a BFA in Textile from NSCAD University in Halifax and is currently completing an MA in Art History at Concordia University in Montreal. All of her work, whether academic research, art practice, or curatorial projects, is political. During her time at Concordia, she has been heavily involved in the Ethnocultural Art History Research group (EAHR). EAHR is a student driven organization that facilitates opportunities for exchange and creation in the examination of and engagement with issues of ethnic and cultural representation within the visual arts in Canada. Through EAHR, Huxtable has been lucky enough to participate in the organization of many exhibitions, lectures, symposia, research and writing projects.

As a Black female scholar and artist, Huxtable feels and lives the ways in which people of colour are consistently left out of conversations and decision making processes in all levels of the arts in this nation. It is her passion to not only make sure that there is space made for other artists and scholars of colour, but to also inform her audiences of the historic and systemic reasons why we have been left out in the first place.