Creator of complex immersive installations
The Clay Siblings’ Project is a non-profit initiative aimed to not only give insight on possible ventures and opportunities through clay, but change the overall view of who can be a practicing artist. We are committed to demonstrating that all people, regardless of race, gender expression, religion, socio-economic status or any other marginalized identity, have something valuable to give as well as gain from the ceramic community as well as the larger art world.
Creator of complex immersive installations, I use ceramic objects, found objects, sound and wall signage to execute my goals. Fundamental to my practice has been creating the sculptural ceramic forms and using the materiality of clay to communicate complex ideas, challenging the viewer physically and conceptually.
I use this methodology to execute my work about Descendants of Strange Fruit, an exploration of the current generation of offspring of the Strange Fruit Billie Holiday and Nina Simone sang about. I define this concept of Strange Fruit as a fruit-bearing plant, growing in a country deeply infected by Anti-Blackness. My work analyzes these biological American oddities and their placement in this country’s foundation. Implementing several researching methods, I map out the lifespan of the fruit and make diagrams that identify the fruits’ characteristics to reinterpret their symbolism using my own personal experiences. Primarily examining American constructs of Black Exceptionalism, Womanhood, and respectability, I identify several varietals of the Fruit and theorize their unique behaviors, such as Bloodbending and Shapeshifting.
I, then, commemorate the life of the descendants through the creation of sculptures and installations. Building abstract nonrepresentational fruit-like forms, I formulate a visual language of the Strange Fruits through a variation of postures and gestures. The forms are placed in mixed-media constructed installations to contextualize the fruit’s surroundings, exposing connections between the characteristics of the Fruit and the effects of the Strange Fruit disease. Navigating themes of joy, greed, nobility, trauma, and, ultimately, freedom, together, these forms and installations evoke aggressively interrogating questions of who are each of us in this Strange Fruit ecosystem and what does [our] harvest look like.
Meet Gerald Brown
I want you all to meet Gerald Brown. I first met her at NCECA several years ago…Providence in 2015 I think? or maybe Milwaukee in 14. I don’t remember the year, but I definitely remember this vibrant young woman with a smile as big and dazzling as her personality. She approached me after my “NCECA for New Attendees” session to express interest in getting involved, She was only about 4 words into her first sentence when i KNEW I wanted to hear more from her. This first image is apparently from the first show she curated. I pulled it from her Instagram and it is exactly how I picture her, and her original caption from that post “To be a complicated, smart Black Woman is risky, adventurous and spontaneously beautiful” sums her up quite well indeed. I look for her each year at the conference and try to keep up on what she’s doing. You should definitely check out the “clay siblings” project that she started with Mike Tavares, seen in the second image is Gerald, Mike & former NCECA President, Chris Staley. Photo cred probably Glen Blakley. The third image shows Gerald in action as a “Clay sibling”, helping to change lives, photo from their website, claysiblingsproject.org. Check out their Mission Statement : “The Clay Siblings’ Project is a non-profit initiative aimed to not only give insight on possible ventures and opportunities through clay, but change the overall view of who can be a practicing artist. We are committed to demonstrating that all people, regardless of race, gender expression, religion, socio-economic status or any other marginalized identity, have something valuable to give as well as gain from the ceramic community as well as the larger art world.”