Adebunmi Gbadebo. Courtesy of Adebunmi Gbadebo Studio. Photograph by David Orrell.

Artist Talk: Adebunmi Gbadebo

Guided by evidence that soil can be a repository for memory, artist Adebunmi Gbadebo’s work goes straight to the land, using products of her ancestors enslavement–red clay, blue indigo, black hair, Carolina gold rice–as worthy materials to tell the story of slavery and black labor. Gbadebo’s art practice is not one that lives within the white walls of a studio. It is a practice of caring for ancestral burial grounds, of buying back pieces of plantations, creating a new archive-reimagining art practice. It’s about memory, material, and matter.

In this talk, Gbadebo will discuss her journeys to True Blue Plantation and other spaces of enslavement in South Carolina, where she has used the land to contemplate Black histories either long overlooked or too closely surveilled.

This talk is held in conjunction with the exhibition Collage/Assemblage Part II: 1990 to Now, on view in Galleries 369, 373, & 374 through August 11, 2024.

Adebunmi Gbadebo
Adebunmi Gbadebo is a multimedia artist who uses culturally and historically imbued materials to investigate the complexities between land, matter, and memory. She was born in New Jersey and is now based in Philadelphia, where she has a Residence at the Clay Studio. Recently, Adebunmi’s work was included in the exhibition Hear Me Now: The Black Potters of Old Edgefield, South Carolina, which opened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY and traveled to MFA Boston. She is currently a Pew Fellow and 2023 Maxwell & Hanrahan Craft Fellow. Gbadebo’s works are in the permanent collection at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the South Carolina State Museum, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Newark Museum of Art, amongst others. Gbadebo has presented in exhibitions across the US, Asia, Australia, and Europe.

Adebunmi Gbadebo. Courtesy of Adebunmi Gbadebo Studio. Photograph by David Orrell.