Sonya Clark: Finding Freedom opens at Jepson Center | Visual arts | Savannah News, Events, Restaurants, Music


As a mixed media artist, Sonya Clark has used everyday objects to address interwoven stories, cultural heritage and identity. January 1, 17, 2022.

“A lot of my family has taught me the value of a well-told story and that’s how I appreciate the stories in the objects,” Clark said.

Sonya Clark is Professor of Art and Art History at Amherst College (MA) and a Fellow Emeritus at the School of the Arts at VA Commonwealth Univ.

On September 30 at 6 p.m., Clark will present the 2021 Jacob and Gwendolyn Lawrence talk to open his exhibit.

After the conference there will be the opening reception of the Telfair Museums’ Friends of African American Art (FAAA) Small Works Members Exhibition 2021.

“I want people to know and see the diverse group of multi-talented artists that are part of the FAAA and how they shape its core. They range from college students, college graduates, promising mid-career artists to world-class artists, ”said Calvin Woodum, artist (Cal Wood Art) and president of the FAAA.

The Friends of the African American Arts, or FAAA, are a group of people of all genders, ethnicities and ages brought together by their appreciation for the artistic and cultural contributions of African Americans. Woodun wants people to know that local artists are proud to belong to an arts group so much bigger than themselves.

“I want people to know that they have a vested interest in what we have here on hand and what we have here in our own backyard. When they get to know our illustrious founder, Dr. Walter O. Evans, they will be in awe of his accomplishments and want to be part of his legacy. As we all know, Savannah is no stranger to making history, being history, and sharing history with the rest of the world, ”said Woodum.

Sonya Clark: Finding Freedom is part of the Telfair Museums’ Legacy of Slavery in Savannah initiative, a multi-year project that engages Savannahians, artists, academics and local activists to examine how the legacy of slavery still manifests in the city. .

This exhibition is organized by the Phillips Museum of Art at Franklin & Marshall College in collaboration with Telfair Museums and is curated by Amy Moorefield. The presentation of this exhibition at the Telfair Museums is curated by Erin Dunn, Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art.

“After doing my independent research on her, I was pleasantly surprised to hear her say something that I thought and said quite recently. From a March 2019 interview with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Clark talks about racism.

She states that her father used to say that racism was like a mental illness and that it was also very contagious. When I heard her say that, it certainly touched me. Hearing someone I have never met share a parallel thought that I had reminds me of how much connection we artists have, ”said Woodum.

Finding Freedom ‘consists of a large-scale canopy quilted from squares of reactive cyanotype fabric that were made with the help of workshop participants during Clark’s various residences.

“I gained an appreciation for craftsmanship and the value of handmade mainly through my maternal grandmother, who was a professional tailor,” Clark said.

Draped like a night sky above us, the work offers a celestial perspective that encourages us to consider enslaved individuals seeking freedom whose forced labor has built the wealth of this nation.

Often in the shelter of the night with bounty hunters on their heels, they used constellations like the Big Dipper to orient themselves north along the Underground Railroad – a network of people, shelters, and underground routes used by slaves in the early to mid-19th century to escape from states, such as Georgia, which sanctioned slavery, to the northern states and Canada.

Clark’s work has been exhibited in more than 400 museums and galleries in the Americas, Africa, Asia, Europe and Australia. She is the recipient of a United States Artist Fellowship, a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Prize, an 1858 Prize, and an Anonymous Was a Woman Prize.

For more information on Sonya Clark: Finding Freedom, FAAA and more, visit


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