Martin’s “Dear Grandmother” collaboration was born over a decade ago when Martin commissioned her grandmother Dot Martin to embroider her Half White series as a reflection on racial identity. Since then, the pair have worked on over 70 pieces together, with Dot adding her own touches of color or language along the way. Martin sees the pieces as symbolically bridging gaps of distance, generation, race and culture, creating an inclusive backdrop for artistic creation.
With phrases like “Come Home” / “Go Home”, “British” / “English,” the pieces are challenging, but comforting, playful, yet ironic. With Dot Martin passing away in October of 2015 at the fine age of 80-something (she didn’t tell anyone her actual age), Shantell felt extremely grateful that she was able to find such a fun and creative way to collaborate with her Grandmother before her passing, and that the work they collaborated on was exhibited in the Brooklyn Museum.