Calendar of Events

Jim McDowell Lecture | African American Face Jugs: Thoughts Become Art Inspired by the Ancestors

Krannert Art Museum

500 E. Peabody Dr.

Champaign, Illinois 61820


(217) 333-1861


Category

Arts & Theater

Hours

September 16, 2021

5:30pm

View Website

Jim McDowell has been a ceramic artist making face jugs for over thirty-five years, drawing upon his African American and Caribbean ancestry.  He studied art at Mt. Aloysius College and Virginia Commonwealth, but is largely self-taught as a potter. He was introduced to ceramics while he was in the Army stationed at Ansbach, Germany. Afterword, he worked in Pennsylvania coal mines and later trained with the David Robinson in Weare, New Hampshire. He has also studied with Jack Troy, Kevin Crowe, David Hovland, David Shaner, and Charles Counts.

McDowell’s four-times great aunt Evangeline was an enslaved potter in Jamaica who made face jugs. As a young man, he first heard about her and face jugs at a family funeral. His family said that enslaved people were never given gravestones, so face jugs were sometimes made and used to mark a grave. McDowell decided to make face jugs too, with his forms and style evolving over the years, taking on the characteristics of things he has seen, heard, felt, and is feeling now: “the anger, the injustices, the inequities, the feeling that Black lives did not matter. But also, the achievements, inventions, courageous acts of so many, all forms of resistance to the system.”

In his artist’s lecture, Jim McDowell will discuss his face jugs.  They represent, in part, the lives of enslaved people abducted from Africa, and their descendants who lived through slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction, the Jim Crow South, the Great Migration, the Civil Rights era on into today’s Black Lives Matter movement.

Category

Arts & Theater

Hours

September 16, 2021

5:30pm

View Website

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