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Bahamas

In Focus: Anina Major’s sculptures as dialogue between self and place

Anina Major is a visual artist from the Bahamas specializing in ceramics. Her decision to voluntarily establish a home contrary to the location in which she was born and raised motivates her to investigate the relationship between self and place as a site of negotiation. By utilizing the vernacular of craft to reclaim experiences and relocate displaced objects, her practice exists at the intersection of nostalgia, and identity. She holds an MFA from Rhode Island School of Design and is the recipient of numerous awards and residencies, including the Socrates Sculpture Park Fellowship and serving as a mentor for the Saint Heron Ceramics Residency Program. Her work has been exhibited in The Bahamas, across the United States, and Europe and featured in permanent collections that include the National Gallery of The Bahamas, the National Museum of African American History and Culture and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Anina Major, All Us Come Across Water, 2021. Wood, shells, ceramic shards, neon, video, and glazed stoneware, detail of installation.Photo: David Dashiell, Courtesy the artist

 Anina Major focuses on histories of the African Diaspora through the act of making, specifically basket weaving, and the positioning of cultural wares in an installation designed like a tropical island stage set. Clay baskets, created from traditional weaving practices, are displayed on a pier-like table above ceramic shards forming a floor of seashells. A neon sign reiterating the title of the installation, All Us Come Across Water (2021), captures the contradictions of commodifying culture.

Nesting Bluehole 1, 2021
Soda-fired stoneware, sponge
17 1/4 × 17 × 19 1/4 in
43.8 × 43.2 × 48.9 cm
Fragment of Epic Memory, 1981, 2021
Raku-fired stoneware
6 × 4 × 1 in
15.2 × 10.2 × 2.5 cm
The Eye, 2021
Stoneware, sea glass, sand
18 × 18 × 15 in
45.7 × 45.7 × 38.1 cm
Dark Loci, 2018
Stoneware
13 × 13 × 13 in
33 × 33 × 33 cm

 Anina Major’s practice is research based with collecting oral histories and anthropological archives, her work challenges postcolonial ideology. Major is a cultural advocate who opens critical dialogue around developing cultural identities and building the appropriate platforms for this discourse.

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