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Virtual Connections: Together From a Distance by Everyone

Welcome to Afro City by Donté K. Hayes-Wednesday August 26th 7pm-8pm (CST) on Instagram @SooVAC

Donté K. Hayes will discuss his recent body of work; dissecting the symbol of the pineapple-one of hospitality and prosperity for white colonizers versus its definition as enslavement and systematic dehumanization for Black and Indigenous people, science fiction as a narrative for the power of the unseen, and more personal reflections on touch as connection. 


“All that you touch you change.” -Octavia Butler


Donté K. Hayes graduated summa cum laude from Kennesaw State University at Kennesaw, Georgia with a BFA in Ceramics and Printmaking with an Art History minor. Hayes received his MA and MFA with honors from the University of Iowa and is the 2017 recipient of the University of Iowa Arts Fellowship. Recent art exhibitions include group shows at the Museum of Science + Industry in Chicago, Illinois, the Association of Visual Arts in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia in Atlanta. Donté’s artwork has been presented at the 1-54 art fair in London, England and at Design Miami in Florida. He has also been included in recent juried exhibitions from the 2019 NCECA Student Juried Show, and the 2018 River to River Midwest Regional Ceramic Juried Show at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Hayes, is a 2019 Ceramics Monthly Magazine Emerging Artists and Artaxis Fellow. Donté is the 2019 winner of the 1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art from the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, South Carolina. Donté K. Hayes is represented by Mindy Solomon Gallery in Miami, Florida. 

My research and artwork are focused on the pineapple as a symbol which represents welcoming and hospitality, while also examining issues of access to food, empire, and what constitutes the feeling and or act of being welcomed. Through this research I have discovered that the tradition of the pineapple as a symbol for hospitality is rooted in slavery and agricultural colonization of South America, the Caribbean, and the Southern United States in particularly, South Carolina and my home state of Georgia. When a new slave ship bringing enslaved Africans docked at port, the foremen would place a pineapple at the front of the dock to notify a new shipment of enslaved Africans has arrived. This creating the pineapple as a symbol for welcoming. The investigation in the concept of welcoming is also from personal struggles in moving through public spaces and environments and not feeling like I belonged or welcomed. These ceramic objects are vessels, each making symbolic allusions to the black body. The human desire to find a place to belong and call home is universal. -Donté K. Hayes

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