As a nonbinary individual, MANDO BEE strive to create work that unapologetically challenges the role of contemporary jewelry culture, and its impact and influence on the perception of gender and class. Their adornments are lush with complex fabrication and avant-garde materials that create a maximalist aesthetic that can't be ignored. Color is a focal point, often in bright, bold and neon palettes that reference candy wrappers, lottery tickets, and other discarded items they find on the streets. Their wearables are a physical manifestation of a self-made reality that processes trauma, life experiences, and their gender identity. The hours of sawing and riveting by hand that is necessary to create their work is a physical ritual that brings them closer to the source of their inspiration and aesthetic goals.
COVID-19 impacted my life in a way I never knew was possible. From the beginning, I was an essential worker at a local organic grocery store in Baltimore,MD. I saw people panic, hoard food, clear the shelves, and change from kind folx to those living fear. I was cussed out, degraded, exhausted, and dealt with the lack of action from corporate companies. The slow start to protect workers and provide us necessary protective gear left us all defenseless. I was ultimately drained and it hemorrhages my studio practice. I barely touched my studio, as I fell into a deep depression. The works I am submitting to you today are physical manifestation of all that I have been holding in since I walked away from my job and sought comfort in my home. COVID-19 allowed me the opportunity to dive deeper into my identity and how I see myself in a world that is on fire.