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We are delighted to announce the acquisition of a pair of ceramic vessels, Candy Lady (2020) by Oxford-based, American artist and Turner Bursary winner, Shawanda Corbett (born 1989).
This pair of vessels forms an abstract portrait of a Candy Lady, typically a friendly older woman who would sell sweets cheaply to local children in the Mississippi community of the artist’s childhood. Part of a series of paired ceramics that capture the individual personalities of local people remembered by Corbett, these works aim to elevate and give dignity and humanity to individual African Americans often ignored or reduced to stereotypes in the media. In each pair, one piece suggests the appearance of the particular character, the other, their personality.
Corbett creates abstract paintings, ceramics, poetry and performance. Raised between Mississippi and New York, she is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Fine Art at Ruskin School of Art and Wadham College, University of Oxford.
Born without legs and with only one arm, movement and ideas about what constitutes a ‘complete’ body, are key to Corbett’s work. She improvised the painting on Candy Lady while dancing to ‘Part 3: Pursuance’ from John Coltrane’s acclaimed 1965 jazz album, A Love Supreme.
Earlier this year, Corbett was awarded a Turner Bursary – one of ten bursaries given out in place of the annual Turner Prize.
The work is on display in a glass case at the end of our Courtyard, close to the entrance to Gallery 31.
Entry to the museum is free, but we advise you book a timed ticket in advance.
Image: Candy Lady (pair, 2020), stoneware, thrown, painted and stained, with gold lustre, Shawanda Corbett © Shawanda Corbett