I would never have attempted this piece without encouragement from Jabulile Nala, the South African potter I studied with over the summer. Its form is from the Kanakuru (or Dera) people, a small tribe in northeastern Nigeria. It is to be carried on the head of a girl or woman while she dances.
The celebration of the feminine has been a recurring, underlying theme in my work for many years, but while I worked on this piece, I thought of the incredible cultural and ethnic diversity of Nigerian people. It stands in such contrast to the way we are defined by race in the United States—the idea that we can be narrowly defined by our skin tone and phenotype. Nigeria is a British colonial invention that brought together well over 300 tribes with distinct languages and cultural practices. These distinctions are very apparent in the styles of pottery made all over the country before plastic took hold and most of those traditions were lost.
16" tall, 11" wide
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