ANINA MAJOR

SCULPTURES

ABOUT

(b. 1981, Nassau, Bahamas, lives and works in Provincetown, MA)

Anina Major is a Bahamian artist who works with clay in efforts to cultivate moments of reflection and a sense of belonging. Her work draws from anthropological research and oral histories to challenge postcolonial ideology and advocate for critical dialogue around developing cultural identities. Major is the recipient of numerous awards and residencies, including the St. Botolph Club Foundation Emerging Artists Award for sculpture, the Watershed Summer Residency Zenobia Award, Mass MoCA Studio Artist Program, and the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center Fellowship.

Her work has been exhibited internationally at venues in The Bahamas, the United States, and Europe including Gallery 51 (North Adams, MA), Westminster College Foster Art Gallery (New Wilmington, PA), Fuller Craft Museum, (Brockton, MA), National Gallery of The Bahamas (Nassau, Bahamas), HALLE 14 (Leipzig, Germany), and Prizm Art Fair (Miami, FL). Major studied at the College of The Bahamas before earning her BS in Graphic Design from Drexel University in 2003 and her MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2017.

ON HER WORK

“The decision to voluntarily establish a home contrary to the location in which I was born and raised (The Bahamas) motivates me to investigate the relationship between self and place as a site of negotiation. By utilizing the vernacular of craft to reclaim experiences and relocate displaced objects, my practice exists at the intersection of nostalgia, identity and commerce. Often taking form in a wide range of media, including installation, sculpture, time-based video and performance, it references tropical ecologies as well as historical and contemporary ethnography. The work unpacks the emotional complexities inherent to the transcultural dialogue that surfaces when mapping the migration of traditions versus foreign influences. This constant state of liminality helps me develop a deeper sense of belonging and leaves openings for others to enter the work and relate to its meanings.”


ON HER WEIGHT IN GOLD

Her Weight In Gold, contemplates the intrinsic value and status of the female body. Inspired by the role and form of the Makonde Njorowe, the piece challenges the mass appropriation of African masks by inverting a single casting of the artist body, to be used as a washbasin. The piece illuminates the legacy of colonialism and methods in which the body was once co-opted by the powerful to enact a certain trauma and reiterates a universal cry that persists within our contemporary society, relating to agency over our bodies as women. By reimagining a utilitarian porcelain washbasin and re-contextualizing histories related to the black female body, it offers an alternative narrative that embodies cultural consciousness.

This piece is a part of a body of work that references the body. Other works include, Bessie’s Backbone, To Have and Not To Own, Wisdom Teeth and Heavy Is The Head.


ON NATURE/NURTURE

“Hybrid Gourd is a piece that represents the culmination of engaging with weaving as a continuance of personal lineage. It utilizes the medium of clay to record this inherit practice and articulate the harmony of preserving such interconnections as a form of nurture kinship.

As I continue to develop my own creative practice, I am encouraged by the recent, increased acknowledgment of women’s contributions to the arts. I am particularly inspired by the careers of artists such as Maren Hassinger, Magdalene Odundo, Maria Nepomuceno, Barbara Chase-Riboud and Simone Leigh, to name a few.”


DIRECTOR NOTES FROM NATURE/NURTURE

We first met in 2018 when she appeared in our doorway having just arrived to participate in a three week residency in the Artist for Assets program located above us in Building 13 on the MASS MoCA campus. Our quick friendship grew when she decided to stay in North Adams for the year at 36 Chase & Barns Artists and Art Historians Residency, culminating in a show The Rhythm of Hybrid Interactions nearby in MCLA’s Gallery 51. She is currently working at Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center and like so many artists, she has work on view in several concurrent exhibitions currently closed to the public.

Drawing inspiration from her cultural background, she continues to work in ceramics using techniques that draw from Bahamian plaiting and indigenous weaving. The objects and installations make connections to contemporary issues. In her future hopes and dreams, she plans to trace her ancestry through weaving and maybe even set new roots in North Adams.