Halima Cassells is an interdisciplinary artist, mom, and an avid gardener with deep roots in Waawiiyaatanong/ Detroit. Cassells’ work is located at the intersection of interactive installation, visual art, and community building. She has exhibited and presented widely, including at: the N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art, MOCAD, the Wright Museum, and the Detroit Institute of Arts.
Halima’s project “Free Market of Detroit,” received a 2015 Knight Arts Challenge award. “Free Market of Detroit” is a semi-nomadic, interactive installation, inviting the general public to swap items and stories, create up-cycled fashions, break bread, and dance together.
Cassells draws upon indigenous economy practices to explore notions of value and disposability; freedom and work. Her book, Fashioning the Free Market, documents the project’s journey from its hyperlocal inception to its global receptions at Njelele Art Station in Zimbabwe, FLORA ars+natura in Bogota, Colombia, and the HUB in Oaxaca, Mexico.
She has also co-authored, Where Did I Come From? a book that ponders existence, with her three daughters.
Collaborating with other artists (especially Detroit artists) is an important part of her practice. She was a member of the ONE Mile project team, a neighborhood arts and culture effort that received an Artplace America grant. She also serves as a member of the National Conference of Artists, Oakland Ave. Artists Coalition, and an advisor to the Allied Media Conference, and Detroit Narrative Agency, and has consulted on the creation of a Cultural Community Benefits Toolkit with ArtChange Us.
Most recently, Halima is creating installations out of cotton, hand-dyed with Indigo. She travels with an Indigo vat inviting others to take a dip. After several years of self-guided study of economic theory, and natural building techniques, Halima continually works to bring together all of her values into an integrated practice.