The structure of “SHELTER” intentionally shrouds the displayed collection in a world of Fordjour’s own making. The exhibition’s sound element, installed above the metal enclosure, serves a similar purpose. “One of the things I associate with diasporic experiences is the notion of sound, the music of culture,” Fordjour explained. “Whether that’s the decibel levels at which people talk and laugh, whether it’s actual music, whether it’s rain associated with equatorial life or the tropics—I do find that idea to be another disruption to sterility.”
Fordjour limited himself to creating work from materials often associated with the makeshift homes of migrant populations, refugee camps, and economically disenfranchised rural communities. He uses these perceived markers of poverty to make a claim about the inherent dignity of homemaking, arguing that the deliberate re-manipulation of resources—regardless of limitations or quality—is a dignifying act. Through employing everyday materials like wood, newspaper, and aluminum foil, Fordjour creates a content-rich border between his works and the depersonalized, institutional gaze.