Video: Artist-in-residence Sharon Norwood

by Clifton Hanger

“There’s a certain question that repeats itself over and over in my work,
on my porcelain pieces,” declares Sharon Norwood, a winter/spring
2021 artist-in-residence here at McColl Center.

“The question is, is this making it better or is This enhancing the form in some way?”

That’s the question Norwood asks when she unpacks ideas about race,
identity, and hair—specifically, her own hair as a Black person.

“Here’s this curly [hair] and you’re making it straight in order to be
accepted in certain spaces. So, what does it mean when you take the
curly line and you leave it as is and you celebrate it in certain spaces, as
is?”

Photo by Chris Edwards, courtesy of McColl Center.

That reflective and rigorous inquiry has directed her creative process and
practice in profound ways. “It is about looking, and deeper critical thinking,” she writes in her artist statement. “Content for the work comes out of a need to unpack my own awakening to the racially charged social, political, and cultural histories of black peoples.”

“I am interested in those things that shape our understanding of ‘black culture’.”

Norwood’s artist residency at McColl Center—generously supported by
Windgate Foundation—was prolific and productive, thanks to the
private studio space to explore ideas, a ceramics lab equipped to
accommodate her workload, and the support she needed as a working
artist.

Learn more about artist residencies at McColl Center.