I Exist as Cocoa Butter and Mangos consists of 196 hand woven squares made from synthetic hair. Created on portable looms made by the artist, this work was a collaboration between Riley Gray and women in her family. These small handmade looms allowed her to carry it with her daily, paralleling the way in which misogynoir follows Black Women every day. Thus, speaking not only of her experiences but the experiences of countless others.
Woven together are stories that explore the personal struggles that some Black Women are forced to navigate internally and socially. From conversations around ‘good hair/bad hair’ to the exploration of the labour of Black Women. Riley Gray seeks to center Black Women in this work through the sculpturing of Black hair, using hairdresser practices and techniques commonly related to crafting.