as a young girl. my mother went out of her way to expose me to art + culture of the world. we listened to music + ate food + collected curiosities + garb from the diasporas. and although the smithsonian museums weren't regular visits for us. i consider them a critical part of my experiential learning. my understanding of the world around me. and my development as a curator of culture. the infrequency of our visits, due to her hectic work schedule, caused me to view our museum days as gifts. days of exploration. and intrigue. today. the script was flipped. the smithsonian visited our curated space at nomad yard.
being the child that i am, i called her to share in my joy. she, without an ounce of surprise, shared that they were long overdue lol. and that she is proud of me. now, to understand this fully. you must know that i come from an immigrant family. they sacrificed dreams and desire to pursue professions that allowed stability for my generation. their sacrifices awarded us the opportunities to explore more creative, often entrepreneurial, paths. so, to tell my mother that the the director + curators from the smithsonian walked into our little shop on a neglected street in northeast dc, brought such joy to me.
for that alone, i am gratitude filled. //
Desirée Venn Frederic is a Sierra Leonean born writer and installation artist of Geeche and Maroon ancestry. Her work pulls heavily from her transnational experiences and understandings. The artist and thought leader explores identity, ownership and contemporary ideas in aesthetics. As the founder of Nomad Yard, a globally minded vintage shop in Washington, D.C., Venn Frederic creates a playground for those who love culture, history and rare antiques steeped in stories. She uses her work to negotiate multiple strata of marginalization being both undocumented and an aboriginal indigenous woman. She is an interior designer creating experiential spaces and interiors. She is a community organizer and founding member of Artist Union DC, with a keen interest in cultural studies and artistic expression. She is particurlarly interested in the ways in which fashion, visual culture and critical theory inform, shape and encourage discourses surrounding the socio-economic, political and cultural. Venn Frederic has shared her creative interests as an exhibiting artist with the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center drawing parallels of her own personal immigration detention in 2013 to the criminalization of human existence throughout history. She holds degrees in Fashion Merchandising, Business Management and a certificate in Community Advocacy and is fluent in French and Krio. As a speaker, she has engaged TED Talks as well as audiences at University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business, The National Endowment for the Arts National Maker Faire, Ted Talks, Made in DC Maker Summit, General Assembly, and Creative World’s Creative Economy Summit. As an ambassador with Define American, the activist shares her personal journey to expand the narrative of immigrants. She exists via the internet sphere simply as @xoDVF. She is a mentor to 2 college aged creative entrepreneurs and loves vintage kimonos.