About this artwork
Simone Leigh’s Dunham examines the relationship between the black female body and the home or dwelling by combining a ceramic bust of a woman with a dome-shaped raffia skirt. The work integrates references from vernacular architectural traditions from Africa, the Caribbean, and the American South into monuments of strength and self-determination. With its introspective gaze, the figure engages the idea of what a body or vessel can hold within itself, expressing the power of interiority.
The sculpture’s title gives tribute to Chicago’s cultural history and the pioneering black choreographer Katherine Dunham, whose dance practice introduced movement styles from Africa and the Caribbean into the Western vocabulary of modern dance. Leigh’s interdisciplinary approach anchors these references in the artist’s lived experience and anthropological research, creating a powerful symbol of black female resilience and regality.
Currently Off View
- Contemporary Art
- Simone Leigh
- Terracotta, porcelain, raffia, steel, glass bead, epoxy, and India ink
- 88.9 × 76.2 × 76.2 cm (35 × 30 × 30 in.)
- Restricted gift of Marilyn and Larry Fields; Claire and Gordon Prussian Fund for Contemporary Art