The master’s tools will never

This is a piece of ongoing, unfinished photography and stitching work that was first inspired by a conversation with anti-racist scholar and activist Yvonne Simpson, and then grew out of other conversations and writings about institutional racism. The images and writing has been published in an open access editorial for the Canadian Journal of Art Therapy on the theme of emergence. Below is an excerpt of the article

“the words of unbelonging that have been said in classrooms to Black and racialized students by authoritative figures of whiteness (Y. Simpson, personal communication, February 7, 2022). Words that took our breaths and thoughts away in the moment they were spoken, because they felt exactly the same in the body as those words that told us “go back where you came from” when we were children on the playground, at the grocery stores with our mothers, at the restaurants with our loud-talking families of color. Words that felt like the walls were caving in as we walked through the hallways knowing that we were never seen the same ways as other (white, normal) students are recognized, that our dreams of becoming respectable citizens rather than despised immigrants through playing by the rules of this academic game were dashed before we even tried to reach them.

I thought about Audre Lorde’s (1984/2007) essays and poetry. Words are often the master’s tools that built the master’s walls in the master’s house. We were not meant to survive in this house. But that does not stop us from having words of our own. And if our silence will not protect us, then we build new tools with our own voices, sharpened by the words of those who come before us, held by the words that we draw on as companions, we build our own world. We build our own world through and behind and underneath this house, and we work toward a world that is vast and is kind to difference.”


Toll, Haley and Patricia Ki. 2022. “Emergence: Interdependent Response-Ability to Unfolding Precarity.” Canadian Journal of Art Therapy 35: 45-52.


Patricia Ki. (2021-ongoing). The master’s tools will never (front). [graphite and embroidery on photographs, crochet, salvaged threads and beads].

Patricia Ki. (2021-ongoing). The master’s tools will never (back). [graphite and embroidery on photographs, crochet, salvaged threads and beads].