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Assimilation? Destruction?

Bey, Sharif

Assimilation? Destruction?

terra cotta

2004 Gift of the Artist

"Assimilation? Destruction?" is an installation piece comprised of over one thousand pinch pots. Each pot is a sculpted head with African features. Each form represents a piece of African American history. Some of the forms are whole while others have shattered into fragments. The fragments and arbitrary stacking of the heads is a metaphor for the history of African Americans and their identity. Each time the installation is displayed, the forms break into more fragments which contributes to the overall message of the installation. As Africans leave their native land for different parts of the world and are assimilated into other cultures the question arises as to whether or not this dispersal contributes to or destroys their collective identity.