Sonya Clark

We are Each Other

Mar 23–Sep 22, 2024

Highlighting thirty years of artmaking dedicated to the Black experience in America, Sonya Clark: We Are Each Other is the first comprehensive survey of the communal art-making projects that form the heart of the artist’s pioneering creative practice. Accompanied by a selection of Clark’s photographs, prints, and sculpture, the exhibition will feature five of Clark’s large-scale, collaborative projects, including her barrier-breaking The Hair Craft Project (2014) and the ongoing performance, Unraveling.

Working with a wide range of emotionally resonant materials and everyday objects—from cotton cloth and human hair to school desks and bricks— Clark encourages audiences to confront through material transformation the country’s historical imbalances and racial injustices. At the same time, Clark celebrates the complexities of the Black cultural experience. The uses of traditional craft materials, her applied knowledge of global craft techniques, and the communal collaborations that are integral to the integrity of Clark's art are among the many ways Clark represents and honors the legacies of the African diaspora in Black life.

About the Artist

Sonya Clark is an artist and educator renowned for mixed-media works that address race and visibility, explore Blackness, and redress history. She is the Winifred L. Arms Professor of Art and Humanities at Amherst College in Massachusetts. Previously, Clark was honored as a Distinguished Research Fellow in the School of the Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University, where she served as chair of the Craft/Material Studies Department for over a decade. Prior to that appointment, she was the Baldwin Bascom Professor of Creative Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she taught fornine years. Clark earned an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art and was honored with their Distinguished Alumni Award. She has a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her first college degree is from Amherst College, where she also received an honorary doctorate. In 2021, she was awarded additional honorary doctorates from Franklin and Marshall College and Maine College of Art.

Her work has been exhibited in over 500 museums and galleries in the Americas, Africa, Asia, Europe, and Australia. Clark’s artwork is held in the collections of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Museum of Fine Art in Houston, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, among many others. Clark is the recipient of numerous awards, including a United States Artist Fellowship, Anonymous Was a Woman Award, Rappaport Prize, Art Prize, and Art Matters Grant. She has been selected for residencies at Red Gate in Beijing, China; BAU Camargo in Cassis, France; the Rockefeller Foundation in Bellagio, Italy; a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship in Washington, DC; Civitella Ranieri in Umbertide, Italy; Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, New York; the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Massachusetts; Indigo Arts in Portland, Maine; an Affiliate Fellowship at the American Academy in Rome, Italy; and Black Rock in Dakar, Senegal, among others.

Sonya Clark: We Are Each Other is organized by the Museum of Arts and Design; Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, Ml; and the High Museum of Art, Atlanta.

Support for the exhibition and publication Sonya Clark: We Are Each Other was provided by grants from the Henry Luce Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. The exhibition is also supported in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

With additional support from WayMaker Media.

Image: Sonya Clark, The Hair Craft Project: Hairstylists with Sonya (2014). Photos: Naoko Wowsugi

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