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Open Until
October 20 2022

Works by
Ashlyn Pope

Solo Show

Ashlyn Pope


Ashlyn Pope

Works by Ashlyn Pope

A Statement on Criminal Reform

I am Gullah, a descendant of enslaved peoples, born into a line of abused Black women and I inherited near identical assaults on my female Black body. Using my own story as a bridge, I examine where my personal experiences connect with the overall experiences of the Black community in America. I use ceramics, textiles and printmaking processes to speak to a narrative of mental and physical confinement and limitation of the Black body in America’s past and present as well as the beauty, resiliency and pride within the people. My pieces are a strikingly delicate balance between weighted subject matters and beauty as a visual aesthetic. They are a quiet reflection of spaces that are imposed upon us and the spaces that we select for ourselves. My work asks that we examine the correlation between our collective history and the influences it has had on our contemporary world.


My work expresses the human form as abstracted figures to talk about the human condition. A condition that I represent through ceramics as my main choice of medium. Using sculptural and functional architypes, I employ throwing and handbuilding techniques in which I envelop African, African American culture and ceramic history into my forms. Many of my works use elements from my ancestral Sweetgrass baskets. These elements are a connection to my familial culture that satisfies my need to preserve identity.

From the Artist

Today’s system for criminal justice is like a block of Swiss cheese. It is sturdy and yet full of holes; deep space for people to fall into and never climb their way out.

Despite my cheesy metaphor, it alludes to a very broken system and one that all too often swallows people who share my skin color. They end up victims of that system. There needs to be change and only the people of this country can do that. If we stand together against the wrongs of a system, we have an opportunity to change it.

Everyone has a fight in them. Being the individual that I am and as an artist, my fight is not necessarily walking in protest (though I do still do this at times), chanting or holding signs but by showing work about Blackness in spaces that once had been reserved for people with a much lighter complexion.

My protest is in a classroom, teaching empathy across a body of students so that they can connect to people who come from different backgrounds. I also fight by simply being a Black face leading a classroom.

I tell you this to say that all of our fights look different and that the fight needs to come from all sides in order to be effective. Be you and fight for reform in the best ways you know how. I am grateful to stand and fight in my way with the Shape Theory Collective.



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