Halima Cassells is mom of three and an avid gardener with deep roots in 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 value and disposability. Her book, Fashioning the Free Market, documents the project’s journey from its hyperlocal inception to its global receptions at Njelele Art Staion in Zimbabwe, and FLORA ars+natura in Bogota, Colombia.
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.