Student work: Anina Major's sculptural explorations of identity and place

Anina Major (MFA '17 CR) creates instantly engaging pieces that are beautiful viewed in a gallery setting and imbued with additional layers of meaning as site-specific installations. Her watercolor-like nature-inspired palette adds to the symbolic power of her dreamy pieces, which seem to both gesture at an alternate world and reflect static moments of reality that contain hidden stories.

"Cultural Topography Within Water." 2014. Earthenware clay, stoneware clay, wood, glass. 60" x 24" x 24" (installation view). Accompanying video duration: 1 minute.

Anina says of her work, "My decision to voluntarily establish a home contrary to the location in which I was born and raised, the Bahamas, motivates me to investigate the relationship between self and place and to further explore my own migration and the emotional complexities that surface, with a desire to fabricate terms of cultural integrity and its defining influence. For this I often refer to nature, whether that is underwater or tropical."

In her piece "Cultural Topography" (installation view above), fused discs of clay and glass are bound by wire to symbolize the ethnic tensions that exist among diverse entities. In place within the natural environment, these discs span a shoreline and are continuously washed over by waves during early morning hours. Anina comments, "The installation defines a place of remembering and forgetting. When the water and sand pools into the shallow bowls, a sense of possibility is eclipsed and is only recovered through the exposure of the water receding. The act serves as a metaphor for the ongoing, timeless nature of defining culture while simultaneously acknowledging individuality. The viewer is invited to examine the ipseity of each disc closely and the unity of the piece from afar within a serene environment." An accompanying one-minute film captures the interaction between the discs and waves in a form of time that can be looped or skipped.

"Sunburst" (front). 2016. Ceramic, rope. 24" diameter, height variable.

"Sunburst" is the most recent installment of Anina's ongoing series Balance Act. Within the series, a blowfish-like orb embodies a protective spirit of place. Anina comments, "The abstract object of power and aggression is suspended vertically by net and chain with gravitational balance to suggest a moment of stability."

"Held" from Rebirth at South Beach. 2014. Earthenware, installation, video, and photography.
"On Shore" from Rebirth at South Beach. 2014. Earthenware, installation, video, and photogrphy.

Rebirth at South Beach consists of installation, video, and photography. The site specific piece draws attention to the previously overlooked South Beach, on the island of New Providence.

"Chickcharney Trap" (detail). 2012–2014. Stoneware and fused glass. 12" x 72" x 60."

The stoneware and fused glass mussel-like pieces of "Chickcharney Trap" embody a mythical folktale from the island of Andros. The dishes were installed in the Catskill Creek for 24 hours while water currents around the pieces were photographically documented.

Anina's artistic process includes periods of observation, creation, reflection, abstraction, and revisitation of specific water-based locales, in a process that is ultimately site-specific and responsive to time and the natural world in a poetic and nuanced way.

"The Seawall." 2015. Porcelain. 7" x 7" x 7" each.
"Hope Chest." 2016. Ceramics, mirror, cardboard. 32" x 24" x 16."
"Hope Chest." 2016. Ceramics, mirror, cardboard. 32" x 24" x 16."
"The Seaweed Seeps Through (detail)." 2016. Ceramics, rope, yarn, copper leaf. 36" x 60."
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