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Afro Blue Matter


Artist: Sonya Clark (March 23 1967 – ) Primary
Date: 2017
21st century
Dimensions: 21 1/2 x 30 1/2 in. (546.1 x 774.7 mm)
Dimensions Extent: sheet
Object Type: Print
Creation Place: North America, United States
Medium and Support: Offset lithograph on paper
Edition Size: 70
Credit Line: Partial gift of the Brandywine Workshop and Museum Purchase with funds from the Black Art Fund, 2022.
Accession Number: 2022.17.10
Not on view.

From the Artist:

"This piece...honors the great Mongo Santamaria, [John] Coltrane, BLM [Black Lives Matter], and the legacy of racial injustice that led to the movement, the dark matter that makes up the majority of the universe, and [our] ancestors' DNA in our hair. It is about space. The space of the universe, the space between the teeth of the comb. The space between musical notes. Comb through space and you find our essence and the roots of culture.

I use craft and materials to investigate identity. Simple objects become cultural interfaces. Through them I navigate accord and discord. When trying to unravel complex issues, I am instinctively drawn to things that connect to my personal narrative as a point of departure: a comb or a strand of hair. Charged with agency, simple objects have the mysterious ability to reflect or absorb us. I find my image, my personal story, in an object. But it is also the object’s ability to act as a rhizome, the multiple ways in which it can be discovered or read by a wide audience that draws me in. To sustain my practice, I milk the object, its potential, its image, and its materiality. I manipulate the object in a formal manner to engage the viewer in conversation about collective meaning. If we unravel a cloth together, what do we learn in the process? What is the connection between combs, hair, and textiles? Can a strand of hair tell a life story or a whole cultural history? I trust that my stories, your stories, our stories are held in the object. In this way, the everyday “thing” becomes a lens through which we may better see one another. A visual vocabulary derived from object and image forms a language ranging from the vernacular to the political to the poetic."
—From Brandywine Workshop and Archives records

To learn more about this work, see it on Artura.org , an open educational resource from the Brandywine Workshop and Archives.

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