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Paint Cans

Artist Bio

Sophia Clarke

B. 1997 Oxfordshire, UK

Lives and works in Spearfish, SD

Sophia Clarke spent the formative years of her life in The Bahamas. The country’s vibrant colours and bold personalities inspired a similar ferocity in Sophia’s attraction to lively palettes. Her work contains consistent threads and connections to her home, ranging from folklore, social issues, and flora and fauna.

Sophia is studying to receive a Bachelor of Education from Black Hills State University Spearfish, SD in 2023, majoring in Art and English. She has worked on local projects such as the Lookout Art Tunnel, Murals and  . She has also been featured in the HeavyBubble Quarenzine19 show, For the Love of Art. She has been featured in the Matthews Opera House numerous times.

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Artist Statement

This artwork reflects my personal experiences and background.  Caribbean history is nothing short of an intimate self-exploration of boundaries and exposing uncomfortable truths. Through art, I discover the world through a post-colonial lens, considering the power dynamics and social structures that have been influenced by colonialism and its aftermath. Tools such as religion, politics, social conditioning, gender hierarchies and the way ideas have been indoctrinated into a society. 

            One of the consistent threads in my work is the connection of language, culture, and art. I usually layer language through my work as a focal point or as a layer. Feminine figures are complemented by specific flora and fauna. Too often women are put in a binary. My method is to explore the conversations of personhood in a way where they are not minimized to a single component. 

Stories shape our perception of the world. Understandable folklore and mythology are a starting point to many of the lessons we learn in life. However, these things are not stagnant. If we add, change or transform concepts a new message and idea is formed. Villains become heroes and moral upright characters shift to a greyscale of right and wrong. True stories explore past binary divisions of good versus bad. My goal is to look at the structures in our society today and look at their foundations. 

        The use of craft and nontraditional materials is essential to this conversation. Traditional methods such as books, finished and fine materials were luxuries. Stories were told due to people not allowing them to be literate. The loss of them is due to people not being allowed to share stories. Languages lost are due to people not allowed or minimized for speaking differently. These are the conventions used to kill a culture. This history and dialogue are not substantiated or recorded traditionally in books, or from the perspectives of those affected. If conventional means are not available, it is necessary to find alternative methods to record and share these stories. This can include subverting the tools available and recording them in ways that are deemed acceptable or are commonly ignored. Reclaiming a voice, community, and power in a silent rebellion. It is crucial to approach these discussions with a critical eye and seek out diverse perspectives to better understand the complexities of the topic at hand.

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