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The Enslaved Potter's Resistance: Poetic Jars by David Drake


1857 jar signed “Dave”: “I made this Jar for Cash/though its called — lucre trash.” Courtesy of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston


In an article for The New York Times, Jori Finkel dives into the story of an early nineteenth-century enslaved artist identified under the names "Dave", "David Drake", or "Dave the Potter." Finkel investigates the record breaking auction of David Drake's cryptic and poetic "cantination" jar. Roughly a dozen of Drake's jars are set to be displayed during a traveling show in New York and Boston on the legacy of African American potters at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in September 2022. Art professionals revere Drake's work as an opportunity to not only confront westernized ideologies of enslaved education and skills, but "also make a strong case for fine art museums to recognize the importance of functional and utilitarian objects."


“How many buildings, pieces of furniture and ceramic jars were made by people who were enslaved? Probably millions, but nobody recorded their names.” - Timothy Burgard

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