It is plainly apparent that black jewelers are underrepresented within dialogues of contemporary jewelry. This underrepresentation is infinitely more apparent in academia, where centuries-old barriers to access often remain in place. When pursuing advanced degrees, black students often have to forge their own paths as they are uniquely challenged by implicit institutional biases and often find themselves in the uncomfortable position of being the only (and sometimes, first ever) black student in their program.
Forging Our Own Path: New Ornament in the African Diaspora highlights the jewelry and metalsmithing practices of current and very recent black MFA candidates across the United States, featuring works by Jeremy Diamond (University of Georgia), Funlola Coker (SUNY New Paltz), Steve Alexis (Carnegie Mellon University), Felicia Jordan (University of North Texas), and Atinuke Adeleke (University of North Texas). In doing so, the exhibition demonstrates not only the diverse range of voices and studio practices within the African diaspora, but hopes to demonstrate that black people do indeed belong in academic spaces and that academia is a viable pursuit for black people.