The first traveling museum exhibition to focus on Black ceramic artists working today, this survey of functional and sculptural ceramics shines a light on 36 innovative makers. Inspired by the recently published book Contemporary Black American Ceramic Artists and co-curated by authors Chotsani Elaine Dean and Donald a Clark, the exhibition recognizes the important, current contributions of African American ceramicists.
The artworks in this exhibition demonstrate a range of techniques and explore topics of historical and contemporary relevance. Understanding the role of clay in carrying ancestral and cultural knowledge from Africa to the Americas, several artists use their medium to explore history, including histories of enslavement, as well as heritage and identity. Other artists respond to calls for social justice, celebrate Black beauty, or convey personal stories of connection, celebration, and triumph. Incorporating processes that range from wheel throwing to slab building, and showcasing works that draw inspiration from other media including quilting and graffiti, this exhibition aims to broaden conversations about contemporary studio ceramics while asserting the presence and excellence of Black makers.
This exhibition was organized by the Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Ways of My Ancestors: We are Nipmuc. We are the Freshwater People.
The exhibit, which highlights the regalia, traditional arts, and current lives of Nipmuc people, was guest-curated by Andre StrongBearHeart Gaines, Jr., and features photography by Scott Strong Hawk Foster, both members of the Nipmuc tribe. This is the first exhibit featured in the Springfield Science Museum’s Native Hall that focuses exclusively on the Native people who historically occupied this land and honors the lives and work of the Nipmuc people.