DIVINE LEGACIES

IN BLACK JEWELRY

JUL. 17 - SEP. 12, 2021

Gasparrini Galleries

Photo courtesy of Louis "Ziggy" Tucker

“This exhibition seeks to focus on introducing the public to the crucial biographic information and transcendent legacies of jewelers and metal artists of Black descent. Black jewelry artists have created to function in numerous contexts from art, to adornment, to manifestations of cultural identity, to examples of contemporary art and jewelry.”

–LAMAR R. GAYLES JR., CURATOR

Divine Legacies in Black Jewelry, curated by LaMar R. Gayles, Jr., explores the pluralistic histories of jewelry creation and production in the Black Diaspora of the Americas. This exhibition centers the works and lives of over twenty-five different jewelry artists to present the first survey of the history of Black Diasporic jewelry of its kind. Divine Legacies in Black Jewelry endeavors to shift public understanding of Black jewelers and their work, from visual commodities to as exemplars of material culture that present personal and individualized notions of Black cultural identity.

While the artists represented in this exhibition have varying definitions of Black identity and conceptions of how their identities relate to their work, all of them personally identify as members of the Black Diaspora in some way. Emphasizing recurring themes in the jewelry on exhibit, such as the use of symbols and cultural materials, metals, as well as gemstones and minerals, this exhibition reveals that while there are visual and conceptual similarities amongst these works, Black jewelry is not one type of object.

Divine Legacies in Black Jewelry showcases pieces from the LaMar R. Gayles, Jr. collection alongside works borrowed from private lenders and public organizations to communicate the long-standing legacy of plurality and nuance in the transnational defining of Black identity and the formation of cultural aesthetics. This landmark exhibition is intended to be a starting point for scholars, enthusiasts, and people interested in the histories of Black jewelry makers.

 

To learn more about this exhibition, take the digital tour or watch the video interview with Mr. Gayles, both linked below.

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To learn more about the work of LaMar R. Gayles, Jr., please visit https://pages.stolaf.edu/cis-lgayles/.

PARTICIPATING ARTISTS

Sandy Baker

Akosua Bandele

Stephan Collins

Faith Davis

Harry Detry

Russell Ferrell

Giselle

Alicia Goodwin (Lingua Nigra)

Charnelle Holloway

Bob Jefferson

Jimmy Jones

Karen Joy


Winifred Mason-Chenet

Nii Oti

Teaty Pawoo (Art Jewelry by Sistaphyre)

Jean Baptiste Pericles
Sekou Ra

Joyce Scott
Coreen Simpson
Arthur G. "Art" Smith
Karen Smith
Janeen St. Louis
Lisette Thierry

ARTIST PANEL

AUG. 28, 2021

1PM CST

 

Online/Virtual

CLOSING RECEPTION & CURATOR TALK

SEP. 12, 3PM CST

 

Outdoors

​EXHIBITION CATALOG

 

Text by LaMar R.
Gayles, Jr. and Alicia Goodwin

Photography by Houston Cofield and Louis "Ziggy" Tucker

Design by Carol Blumthal

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Divine Legacies in Black Jewelry and research are supported by a Craft Research Fund grant from the Center for Craft (Asheville, NC).

EXHIBITION & PROGRAMMING SUPPORT

Windgate Charitable Foundation

Hyde Family Foundations

Patriot Bank

John and Anne Stokes

OPERATING SUPPORT

ArtsMemphis

Tennessee Arts Commission