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A work made of terracotta, porcelain, raffia, steel, glass bead, epoxy, and india ink.

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  • A work made of terracotta, porcelain, raffia, steel, glass bead, epoxy, and india ink.




Simone Leigh
American, born 1967

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.

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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.)

Credit Line

Restricted gift of Marilyn and Larry Fields; Claire and Gordon Prussian Fund for Contemporary Art

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


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