Living Objects

Since their arrival in the Americas, African people have animated objects in a rich variety of forms and contexts. Despite the prohibition by slaveholders on the creation of figurative objects reflecting an African-derived worldview, African Americans nevertheless animated objects to represent their experiences and identity. African-derived performance contexts persisted in African American storytelling. The Living Objects: African American Puppetry exhibition and catalogue therefore highlight the work of contemporary African American artists while contextualizing the evolution of African American object performance. The objects in this exhibition are organized by the following themes: Historical Context, Puppetry in the Community, Puppetry as Visual Art, Puppetry in Storytelling and Puppetry as Craftsmanship.