The remains of this piece demonstrate the tension I feel amidst my attempts to stand strong and stay focused as a woman while navigating the peculiar ways of the opposite sex–although the shattered remains of men in my life still surround and affect me.
Forgiveness, loyalty, and accountability build a strong foundation but what happens when the foundation is cracked? How do you play the game? Can you crack the code to the game when you’re broken?
The remains displayed speak to the current state of the Black community. Our men are being trapped, enslaved and hunted. Ultimately the Black male identity and their role is shattered. The black woman cannot play every role in his absence. But she tries her best.
My intention in the operation of this piece was to show the process of rebuilding my perspective of men and masculinity. In Tension is Necessary, the chessboard and its components act as an analogy of America’s progressive efforts to derogate Black love with psychological elements such as self-hate, Black shame, colorism, and incarceration.
The chessboard represents an urban landscape that the modern family learns to maneuver between violence, poverty, mistrust, and generational trauma with the goal of reaching a space of trust, commitment and loyalty.
The ultimate goal is unity, the only safe space on the game board to be free. Hands represent trust. The images of partnership and children symbolize the power of the matriarch. Every crack and break representing an opportunity to checkmate.
“True peace is not merely the absence of tension, it is the presence of justice” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
When did you first start working with clay and ceramics?
I was first introduced to sculpting in high school. I needed to fill my schedule with an elective and chose ceramics at random. I was always inclined to the arts. As a child I remember drawing the same image over and over again. I always knew I’d be an artist.
What do you enjoy most about it?
I love the challenge. To create something from scratch. It’s like a puzzle and I’m creating the pieces.
Tell me a little more about this conference…how did you hear about it, what was the application process like and what happened at the conference?
An art curator saw Tension is Necessary online and contacted me via email saying she wanted the piece in her gallery. Honestly, I wasn’t sure if it was a scam. NCECA is the largest ceramic conference in the nation. Ceramics is also a very privileged art that usually requires the backing of an institution or large capital.
Nonetheless, I kept in contact with her and followed the application process. I submitted all the documentation, applied for Ceramic Monthly magazine, shipped my artwork, and made arrangements to get to Pittsburgh.
The intent of the NCECA (National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts) conference is to offer exposure, education and appreciation of the ceramic arts. An estimated 6,000 people traveled to Pittsburgh to participate in the conference. There were galleries spread through the city, which allowed the participants to enjoy the full experience of Pittsburgh. I was stationed at the Carnegie Braddock Library, the first Carnegie library in the U.S. surrounded by the heart of the Black community. The library was community run and included a children’s art center, a print making shop, ceramic bath house, gym, bowling and music room. I spent close to a week connecting with people through conversation about my artwork.
Why is one of the figures broken?
I broke the pieces because my community is broken.
What are your short-term goals?
I am currently working on my first solo show in LA at SoLA Contemporary Gallery in September. I am also preparing to be the Artist in Residence at the Carnegie Braddock residency.
Your pieces seem to be very personal especially as they concern relationships in the Black community. Where do you draw most of your inspiration from?
I enjoy communicating, with myself and others. My sculptures always begun with a question, problem or ideal that gets worked out as the puzzle completes. I work closely with children in the community, specifically the inner city. Their resilience inspires me. As I grow as a person, my art develops.
For behind the scenes footage and in-progress work follow her IG @Adesin.a and FB @Adesina.co
For official news such as upcoming gallery exhibits, completed artwork or to purchase original art visit www.Adesina.co
Jasmine Cooper holds two Bachelor Degrees in Psychology and Studio Art (Ceramics) with honors from Humboldt State University.
Her sculptures have been exhibited throughout the towns of Arcata and Eureka, CA in addition, she participated in the California Conference for the Advancement of Ceramic Art (CCACA) in 2014-2016.