Aisha Harrison
I am interested in the experience of power and privilege derived from an individual’s race, class, and/or gender identity. Almost every interaction we have has a power dynamic, even the ones within ourselves. My goal is to examine how my own privilege and the privilege of others affects me and those around me. The sculptures do not illustrate actual interactions; instead I place the figures in situations that get at the emotional impacts of privilege.

I use materials and surfaces metaphorically. At the most basic level, the brown bare clay refers to my own brown body. The bare clay surface is never extremely smooth or refined. Instead of mimicking skin, I want the gritty, spotted clay to refer to all the elements that come together to make us who we are. In addition, the paradox of the fragility and the incredible strength of clay mirrors our own bodies and psychological states.

In my most recent body of work, I have covered all or parts of the pieces with salt. The salt is both beautiful and dangerous. Salt is necessary for us to live, and yet it is poisonous to us in large quantities. If you salt the earth, nothing will grow. Tying into the history of salt as a marker of privilege, I think of this salt as a residue of the effects of privilege. Many of us focus on the privileges of others (that we don’t have), and yet we rarely examine how we benefit from the privileges we do have. The residue (of having or not having) privileges follows us even after we die. It affects the narratives about our people. These narratives influence our understandings of ourselves, as well as other people’s perceptions of us, our ancestors, and our descendants.