Issue 01. Foresight

Black Gold

By M. Florine Démosthène

United States of America

From the Black Gold Series (2020), luster glaze on clay (7inc x 14inc)

From the *Black Gold* series (2020), acrylic, underglaze, and handmade-paper on clay (6inc x 12inc)

From the *Black Gold* series (2020), acrylic, underglaze, and wax print on clay (6inc x 10inc)

“The three clay African masks pictured are from Black Gold, a collection of ceramic objects that depict 17th and 18th-century Dutch empire in Africa. The collection contemplates the experiences of both well-known and little-known colonies controlled by the Dutch West India Company and the Dutch East India Company: Ghana, Namibia, South Africa, Loango-Angola, and Senegambia. It also incorporates material culture that emerged from the Netherlands’ massive trading empire and questions its afterlife on the African continent. For example, can we consider the Java-inspired Dutch wax print Vlisco to be ‘African’, and if not by which terms is it still Dutch? How did this fabric, created over 170 years ago in Helmond in the Netherlands, become ‘African’? What does the country Togo have to do with it? I approach this migration story from a deeply personal lens and that weaves together historical narratives with bright colours, high-gloss shine, and funky textiles.”

—Ré Phillips

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