Woody De Othello in Hear Me Now: The Black Potters of Old Edgefield, South Carolina
at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
September 9, 2022–February 5, 2023
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10028
Focusing on the work of African American potters in the 19th-century American South—in dialogue with contemporary artistic responses—the exhibition presents approximately 50 ceramic objects from Old Edgefield District, South Carolina, a center of stoneware production in the decades before the Civil War. Hear Me Now will include monumental storage jars by enslaved and literate potter and poet David Drake alongside rare examples of the region’s utilitarian wares, as well as enigmatic face vessels whose makers were unrecorded. Considered through the lens of current scholarship in the fields of history, literature, anthropology, material culture, diaspora, and African American studies, these 19th-century vessels testify to the lived experiences, artistic agency, and material knowledge of enslaved peoples.