Ornamental Separator

“I made this…”: The Work of Black American Artists and Artisans

Opens October 22, 2022
Will be on view in the Miodrag and Elizabeth Ridgely Blagojevich Gallery
This exhibition is made possible through a generous grant from The Americana Foundation


“I made this…” will celebrate the lives of eighteenth through twentieth-century Black American artisans and artists through the material culture they created. The title comes from a quote by 19th-century enslaved potter David Drake who inscribed these words on one of his pots despite laws prohibiting literacy for enslaved people. Drake is just one of the many artists represented in this exhibition. Objects from both Decorative Arts and Folk Art collections will be displayed in the same gallery contrasting the aesthetics and designs of men and women from different times, places, and backgrounds. These pieces represent the inspirations, resilience, and legacies of these talented makers.

Stoneware jug by David Drake bearing two inscriptions “April 26, 1842” and “L Miles Dave,” the latter referencing Lewis J. Miles, for whom Drake worked and was later enslaved by.
Simply titled Painting, this watercolor is made by Thornton Dial Senior of Bessemer, Alabama in 1993. The tiger symbolizes empowerment.