Home in the District: An Interview with Amber Robles-Gordon
Kara Riche, Martha’s Table’s Assistant Director of Community Outreach, recently chatted with Amber Robles-Gordon, an artist and curator who is leading the selection of all pieces of art for The Commons, as well as providing a signature fiber-art installation. Here is what she had to say:
Kara: Tell me about how you got started as an artist.
Amber: I knew I wanted to be an artist really early in life, between the ages of 8 and 10. My mother always embedded in my siblings and me that art is an inherent part of our culture and who we are. Of course, I started with coloring, drawing, then shifted into collages, photography, and eventually went into three-dimensional works and textiles.
Kara: How does living in D.C. inspire your work?
Amber: I’ve been in the District for 20-something years. I think living in D.C. gives you an awareness of how different it is living here compared to other places in the world. The District is an interesting place because of the combination of national politics and the number of African Americans who have proudly resided here for generations. And I truly love D.C. When I think about travelling the world and creating in different locations, I always want to have a home in the District.
Kara: What do you love about the city?
Amber: This is where my sister and I got in trouble, this is where I had my son and met his father, and this is where my family lives. It’s an extension of where my roots lie beyond my heritage in the Caribbean. It’s one of the things that grounds me.
Kara: Can you tell me about your vision for art in The Commons, our new headquarters?
Amber: I’m an artist but also a curator, so I’m looking at it from both perspectives. I want to help fellow artists based in the area by exposing their work to a larger audience, but it’s about more than that. Linking artists with the new site will bind them to the community, and the positive interactions that come out of that will support children and families.
Kara: What’s been the best about working with Martha’s Table? Anything you weren’t expecting?
Amber: I was really struck with how Martha’s Table is truly a community. It’s not everyday that you come across an organization that stands with a such a wide-ranging and flourishing community that goes beyond children and really brings in the whole family.