47 x 24 x 24 in. (installed) A) vase: 35 x 24 x 24 in. B) lid: 13 x 12 x 12 in.
Martha Delzell Memorial Fund
Artist; (Wexler Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania); purchased by the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, Indianapolis, Indiana, in 2019.
A self-described “ghetto potter,” Roberto Lugo’s artistic practice merges traditional Asian and European porcelain forms with a hip hop aesthetic to address issues of race, identity, and social justice. Here, he depicts portraits of civil rights activist and former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and radical abolitionist John Brown. Both men advocated for the rights of Black people and were punished for their actions.
The vase’s form derives from a style of eighteenth-century Japanese export porcelain that was later co-opted by European factories. The decoration includes ornamentation that draws from wallpaper and textile patterns, as well as graffiti lettering, hemp leaves, and the Wu-Tang Clan “W” logo. By mining and subverting historical styles rooted in colonialism, Lugo highlights the histories of power, elitism, and oppression often embodied in the field of porcelain ceramics.
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