Sharlene’s ceramic practice incorporates sculpture and written text, which is informed by their investigation of exploring what knowledge is accessible to them about their Jamaican heritage and their experience growing up as a Jamaican American child in a predominantly white household. This body of work is a physical manifestation of their inner exploration and self realization that has taken place in the past four years, as they have for the first time had the opportunity to read Black literature and have the guidance to explore and learn about Black culture.
This year Sharlene has been especially focused on research, and while they were working with their hands to further their craft, everything that was stirring in their brain found its way into the layers of the clay and glaze that are now permanently frozen in time.
This compilation of forms embody features of the artist's body, the Venus of Willendorf, as well as female bodies in Hip-Hop culture. Sharlene sought to absorb theirself in music and media that sent messages of Black Female Power. Each vessel they made this year is a reference point of their research from the past four years, focusing mainly on the last two. At a glance, they can remember where they were in thought, or what details and aspects of their research they were pondering at the time when Sharlene was making each one. Because the process to create a ceramic object is so time consuming and has multiple stages, each of these objects carries a great deal of conceptual contemplation. When Sharlene is working with clay, they meditate on the continuation of their Jamaian legacy in craft and ceramics with their ancestors in mind. They are inspired to make their own artifacts since they are unable to connect directly with the Jamaican
side of their heritage. In a way, Sharlene is creating their own heirlooms that are also time capsules, which refer to the contextual time and place of each container's creation. Much of this self actualization has resulted from Sharlene’s realization that they can make their own history-right now. Allowing themself to be a self made person and artist, Sharlene enjoys working in ceramics because of how readily the material responds to their physical touch. By nature, clay is a reflection of the artist through their hands. The goal of their ceramic art practice is to be an active representative of color in the art community, in hopes that more BIPOC youth and others with a similar lived experience will be inclined to put their points on the map, sharing their perspectives and gaining power through connection and community, all in a grand effort to to complete the fabric of all of our cultures and histories.