In partnership with ODU Arts and Letters and the Office of Community Engagement
Sonya Clark discusses her installations, performances, and objects. Sonya utilizes the language of textiles, politics of hair, and often the power of text to celebrate culture while also interrogating, historical imbalances, inequity, and injustice.
Born in Washington, DC, Sonya Clark is an artist and educator who uses the language of textiles, hair, and commonplace materials to honor her ancestors and address race, justice, and historical memory. Clark was raised by her late parents who immigrated from Jamaica and Trinidad. She is a professor at Amherst College where she received one of her undergraduate degrees and was more recently awarded an honorary doctorate. Her formal art education came from obtaining an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art and a BFA School of the Art Institute of Chicago. For a dozen years, she resided in Richmond, VA and chaired the Craft/Material Studies department at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Her work has been exhibited and collected in over 400 museums and galleries globally. Her dedication to the legacy of crafted objects and the embodiment of skill comes from her maternal grandmother who was a tailor and the many makers she has studied with in her travels to over two dozen countries. She is the recipient of a number of awards (e.g., United States Artists, Rappaport Prize, Pollock Krasner, Art Prize, Anonymous Was a Woman) and residencies (e.g., Black Rock Senegal, Red Gate in China, Camargo in France, Rockefeller Bellagio in Italy, Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship, Yaddo in New York, and an Affiliate Fellowship at the American Academy in Rome.) Her work has been favorably reviewed in several publications including the New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Sculpture, ArtForum Los Angeles Times, Hyperallergic, Mother Jones, Huffington Post, and Art in America.