Center for Craft 25th anniversary logo in red
Center for Craft 25th anniversary logo in red

Grant Recipient

Aminata Conteh

Windgate-Lamar Fellowship

2021

My work investigates the biographical act of holding space for both my first generation American and my Sierra Leonean heritage. These histories have shaped who I am to this point. This investigation is currently taking the form of woven wire baskets. These cultural objects retain meaning through my lived experiences, family legacies and memory. They are designed to hold the intangible thoughts and feelings that we all have but are unable to wrap our hands around. They bear the weight of memories and people, those that are absent and those that are lost. These baskets are made from metal as it provides a structural skeleton, shifting the tactility and longevity from more traditionally perishable basketry materials. Taking the basketry technique of coiling, common in Sierra Leonean fanner baskets, I am using copper, steel, nickel, and silver to preserve a history through the physicality of metal. The shift in materiality from reed to metal, transforms the object into something that is pliable and sensually resilient. Working with the personal histories of estranged family dynamics and emotional detachment, the baskets become responsive vessels through which one can process love, understanding, relationships and grief. Being able to sit with the baskets, cradle them between the palms of your hands, and nestle them close to your chest is part and parcel to the healing process. It’s a way of bridging the gap between what you have and what you don’t.

Location

Brooklyn, NY

EDUCATION

Maine College of Art

SPECIALIZATION

Jewelry/Metals

Institution

Grant amount

$15,000

Also awarded

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Selected works

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