Visitors Talk: Jim McDowell
From Charmaine Edwards
African American Face Jugs: Thoughts Become Art Inspired by the Ancestors…Read more Less…
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.
Jim McDowell has been making face jugs for over thirty-five years, drawing upon his African American and Caribbean ancestry. McDowell’s four-times great aunt Evangeline was an enslaved potter in Jamaica who made face jugs. At a family funeral, his grandfather said that enslaved people were never given gravestones, so face jugs sometimes served as grave markers. The forms and style of McDowell’s
face jugs have evolved 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.”