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Unraveling the intricate symbolism in new exhibition ‘Torn Mixology’

Avery Lea Rogers
St. Louis Public Radio
Felia Davenport started as a painter before becoming a costume designer for theater. Her art still tells a story through clothing — but does so without an actor wearing it.

“Torn Mixology” is a fresh take on what one might expect to see in a gallery. You won’t find painting, sculpture or photography there. Instead, Felia Davenport leads the viewer through a life-size clothing installation that weaves together her memories and lived experiences with commentary on racism and generational trauma from a first-person perspective.

Striped fabric embroidered with braiding hair depicts an excerpt of the artist's original poem.
Felia Davenport
Felia Davenport embroidered her original poetry into the garments using braiding hair.

Five mannequins, outfits and backdrops comprise the exhibition. Each outfit represents a moment in her life when her mixed-race identity was questioned. “It's a study of racial identity,” Davenport said on Friday’s St. Louis on the Air. “And, ultimately, I think the study is about how words matter.”

Davenport said she lives with CPTSD, complex post-traumatic stress disorder, which caused her to lose many of her childhood memories. She said that, in many ways, “Torn Mixology” helps preserve the memories she has.

The exhibition is dedicated to Davenport’s young daughter as a demonstration of self empowerment. “It's really … saying I love me. I am who I am. I'm not apologizing anymore for it.”

Related Event
What: “Torn Mixology” opening reception
When: 8 p.m. Feb. 3
Where: The Gallery at the Kranzberg, 501 N. Grand Blvd.

Hear more about how “Torn Mixology” was developed by listening to St. Louis on the Air on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or by clicking the play button below.

Felia Davenport joins St. Louis on the Air

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is produced by Miya Norfleet, Emily Woodbury, Danny Wicentowski, Elaine Cha and Alex Heuer. Avery Rogers is our production assistant. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr. Send questions and comments about this story to talk@stlpr.org

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Avery is the Production Assistant for "St. Louis On The Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.

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