Taisha Carrington, David Harper Clemons, Tanya Crane, Douriean Fletcher, Kalkidan Hoex, Chequita Nahar, and Cheryl Riley
February is Black History Month in the United States. To honor this, over the next four weeks AJF is spotlighting articles and videos we’ve previously published about Black makers and/or by Black writers.
Today, we focus on the makers who have come on AJF Live to show us their work, take us around their studios, and talk about their practices.
The Barbadian jewelry designer and multidisciplinary artist was a finalist for the 2022 Young Artist Award. She works in performance, sculpture, body adornment, and installation. For Carington, jewelry was a transition from sculpture, which itself was a transition from an interest in architecture. In her mind they are all the same, just at different scales.
In 2021, the James Renwick Alliance of Craft recognized Clemons as Master of the Medium in jewelry and metals, for his excellence in craftsmanship, influence in the medium, and overall contributions to the field. This thoughtful maker embraces metalsmithing and its collected history of techniques and objects in works rendered in metal, mixed media, and artist books—objects positioned across a spectrum, from vehicles to communicate ideas surrounding identity to forays into formal material and process-based work.
Crane is a professor at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University. She received her MFA in metalsmithing and jewelry from the University of Wisconsin—Madison. Her work is a documentation of her life. It sits in a dual existence between prejudice and privilege. She grew up with family in both white suburbs and South Central Los Angeles. This duality has deeply informed her practice.
This multidisciplinary artist specializes in metallurgy, precious stones, and overall adornment. Fletcher’s practice lies where aesthetics and energy work intersect, forging the tools to root and reimagine ourselves according to shared ancestral and cultural traditions. Her work has been featured in the Roots reboot and the films Black Panther, Coming2America, and Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever. Through her work, Fletcher invites women to envision themselves as deities of our era and of the future.
Hoex’s work speaks directly to those she considers a part of her own identity: youth of mixed descent, who were adopted out of their country or origin or had to flee with their families from their birthplace. A master’s graduate of The Maastricht Academy of Art, she now works as a partner teacher in MASieraad’s master’s program in Contemporary Jewelry Design.
Born in Suriname, in South America, Nahar now lives in the Netherlands, where she works as the head of the Fine Art and Design program at the Maastricht Institute of Arts. In her jewelry, Nahar combines Surinamese crafts and techniques with methods rooted in contemporary practices. She uses her work to discuss Surinamese culture, its rituals, symbolism, and visual language, which she connects to her experience of Dutch culture. Nahar served as the curator for Schmuck 2020.
Riley is an artist, designer, advocate, mentor, and art advisor who promotes artists of the Black African diaspora. Her works explore similarities between seemingly disparate cultures through the lens of memory, family, world histories, rituals, and symbols. Recent sculpture projects address cultural tropes, societal structures, nourishment, representation, aspiration, and transcendence inspired by African Americans’ survival techniques. Public art installations are in Atlanta, Sacramento, San Francisco, and NYC. Museum acquisitions include the Oakland Museum, SFMoMA, Mint Museum of Architecture & Design, and MAD. Riley is an NEA grant recipient and has guest lectured at numerous universities.