by Sharif Bey


”A mass of disembodied ceramic human heads randomly piled onto the floor […]. The viewer is confronted by the bald figures, all with a slightly different physiognomy and in the different shades of human skin—brown and black, and occasionally, white. The assemblage by ceramicist Sharif Bey, titled Assimilation? Destruction? is primarily about globalization and cultural identity. It is also a reference to Bey’s identity as a potter and an artist of color.”

”The piece is never the same in any exhibition—the 1,000 or so pinch pot heads are brought to a gallery in garbage cans and “unceremoniously dumped out,” says Bey, showing a video of the process. The heads break, crack and get pounded into smaller shards. Over time, he says, the piece, which he created for his MFA thesis project in 2000, will become sand. Ultimately, Assimilation? Destruction? signifies that “you’re everything and you’re nothing at the same time.” With its shifting collective and individual shapes, the assemblage is also “a comment on what it means to be a transient person,” he says.” [source: Smithsonian Magazine]

From ”Disrupting Craft: Renwick Invitational 2018” presenting work from four artists: Tanya Aguiñiga, Sharif Bey, Dustin Farnsworth and Stepanie Syjuco.

March 22nd, 2019


Dustin Farnsworth – XLIII 2016 – poplar, reclaimed wood, chair, pencil, various polychrome
Dustin Farnsworth X Timothy Maddox : Wake II
2017, Aqua-Resin, Hydro-Stone, various polychrome, canvas, and vinyl acrylic paint

Created as a response to the tragic amount of school shootings in the United States and the Boko Haram abductions of Nigerian schoolgirls in 2014, these skull-like masks represent children’s faces.

Sharif Bey – Louie Bones-Omega, 2017, earthenware, vitreous china and mixed media
Choker with Nineteen Death Heads. Mexico, Mixtec, AD 1200-1500
Library of Congress

This choker’s beads consists of nineteen nearly identical skulls carved from conch shells. The deeply carved eye sockets may have originally held hematite inlays. Young nobles who were being schooled in religion and military arts wore such necklaces throughout the Central Mexican Highlands.

Images from ”Disrupting Craft: Renwick Invitational 2018” presenting work from four artists: Tanya Aguiñiga, Sharif Bey, Dustin Farnsworth and Stepanie Syjuco, paired with a choker with Nineteen Death Heads, from Mexico from the Library of Congress.

March 22nd, 2019