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Simone Leigh
Sentinel IV

Sentinel IV

2020
Bronze
Ed. of 25
50.8 x 8.3 x 9.5 cm / 20 x 3 1/4 x 3 3/4 in

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Color Of Change

‘Major social change has never happened without the voices and contributions of artists and cultural leaders. Simone’s work makes visible and palpable the subjectivity of Black women, whose experiences and leadership have always been central to struggles for liberation nationally and globally.’—Rashad Robinson, President, Color Of Change

Recognizable within Leigh’s sculptural language is the tradition of referencing early African American forms. In this new body of work, Leigh is informed by a vital sculptural tradition of West and South African provenance. This can be seen in the sculptural custom of combining the body with tools, creating carved hybrid forms which often function as spiritual or ceremonial objects.

Leigh turns to the material culture of these regions through the examination of everyday objects. Her work explores the physical and figurative transformation that occurs through their repeated use, and the stories revealed through a person’s interaction with the object. ‘Sentinel IV’ does not buttress the idea that Black women are innately strong and invulnerable, working instead to abstract their formal characteristics. This form exists in a category described in West African Art as a power object, something that acts either through formal significance or ritual use.

Leigh’s practice is informed by her ongoing exploration of Black femme subjectivity, and her objects often employ materials and forms traditionally associated with African and African American art and material culture. Through her investigations of visual overlaps between cultures, time periods, and geographies, she confronts and examines assumptions about the female body, race, beauty, and community.

About the artist

Simone Leigh’s practice incorporates sculpture, video, and installation; all are informed by her ongoing exploration of black female-identified subjectivity. Leigh works in a mode she describes as auto-ethnographic. Her objects often employ materials and forms traditionally associated with African art; her performance-influenced installations create spaces where historical precedent and self-determination comingle.

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‘I am very excited to support Color Of Change with this benefit work. As the largest online racial justice organization in the country, they are designed for this moment in history to help us win. Our relationship dates back to 2015...I’m thrilled to support work that will champion solutions that move us all forward.’—Simone Leigh