October 1, 2001
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass. – In conjunction with the exhibition “18 Alumni Artists,” the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College will present a lecture by Sonya Clark ’89, Assistant Professor in the Department of Environment, Textiles and Design at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her talk, “From Hair to There: Cultural Roots as Artistic Inspiration,” will take place on Thursday, Oct. 11, at 4:30 p.m. in Stirn Auditorium. A reception to mark the opening of the exhibition will follow.

Ms. Clark uses her work to “strengthen the tether to my African heritage, not to return to the past, but to better understand my place in the present. The Yoruba of Nigeria have a saying, ‘The head wrap is only good when it fits.’ I am in pursuit of making a head wrap that truly fits the collective head of the members of the African Diaspora. I make symbolic headdresses that are acknowledgements of the sanctity, power and history of my African heritage. The sculptural headdresses I create are metaphorical funnels for the fluidity of cultural heritage and cultural melding.”

Clark continues, “As a medium, fiber permits me to claim my place in the African textile continuum that was brought to the Western Hemisphere during Transatlantic slavery and continually re-embodies itself today in the African American quilt-making tradition, African Caribbean carnivals and the work of many contemporary artists.”

After receiving her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Amherst in 1989, Clark went on to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (B.F.A., 1993) and was awarded an M.F.A. in fiber from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. This exhibition and related programming are made possible by the Associates of Fine Arts and are co-sponsored in part by the Department of Black Studies and the Department of Fine Arts at Amherst College.

The Mead Art Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Thursday evenings until 9 p.m., and is closed Mondays and holidays. More information can be obtained on the Museum’s Website at www.amherst.edu/~mead or by calling the Mead Art Museum at 413/542-2335.