Body Vessel Clay: Black Women, Ceramics and Contemporary Art – York Art Gallery, 2022 (curated exhibition)


A new exhibition is now at York Art Gallery, home of the Centre of Ceramic Art (CoCA) for Summer 2022. Body Vessel Clay: Black Women, Ceramics & Contemporary Art, curated and conceived by Dr Jareh Das in partnership with Two Temple Place, explores artworks by three general of Black women artists working with clay. Clay is one of the oldest forms of making, with indigenous pottery traditions existing in almost every location in the world, marked by technical variations from culture to culture.

Body Vessel Clay spans 70 years of ceramics. In this ground-breaking exhibition, visitors can see works from Nigerian pioneer potter Ladi Kwali and her contemporaries, and international contemporary artists including Bisila Noha, Vivian Chinasa Ezhuga, Dame Magdalene Odundo, Jade Montserrat, Julia Phillips, Phoebe Collings-James and Shawanda Corbett, who all incorporate working with clay as part of their film, performance, painting, and sculpture practice.

In Body Vessel Clay, the artists explore race, gender, colonialism, the body, and the vessel, as well as how their work with clay challenges the perceptions of clay as a medium. The aim of this exhibition is to shine new light on under-profiled collections and the contributions made by Black women artists and ceramists at its core through a visually exciting show.

Image (c) York Museums Trust (York Art Gallery) / PHOTOGRAPH: W. A. Ismay.