Sonya Clark: Edifice & Mortar

Goya Contemporary Gallery

May. 29, 2024 - Sep. 18, 2021

Mill Centre, 3000 Chestnut Avenue
Baltimore, 21211
PHONE (410) 366-2001

Sonya Clark describes “Edifice and Mortar” as an impenetrable wall, a flag, and a document that asks us to consider a fundamental question: Who laid the foundations of the United States? The work takes aim at unpacking the complicated history of independence. Standing 13 bricks high, referring to the 13 stripes on the American Flag, a blue mirror is intentionally placed at its foot, signifying an upside-down flag. The mirror places the viewer into the work, and challenges our connection to slavery. The bricks are interspersed with viscerally charged mortar made from human hair– specifically, African American hair gathered from Richmond barbershops and salons. This is the hair of people whose ancestors might have been legally enslaved and whose life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness were cut out of Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence, which is inscribed on the bricks. The mortar is “meant to represent black people who are at once held under the weight of the system, but who are also holding this country together, economically.” This work extends Clark’s ongoing material and conceptual reworking of icons of America’s racially divided past and present. It is currently on view in the gallery. (Curator: Amy Raehse)

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