ROBIN WILLIAMS-TURNAGE  Objects of Ancestral Reverence 
ROBIN WILLIAMS-TURNAGE  Objects of Ancestral Reverence 
Terminal A-West, Ticketed Passengers

“When I touch clay, I let the spirit and my hands do all the work.” Robin Williams-Turnage 


Philadelphia artist Robin Williams-Turnage is known for creating pottery—vessels, bowls, plates, and platters—that she says are often based on her “explorative thoughts about anything from experimenting with materials to discovering parts of my family history.” Williams-Turnage’s work is influenced by an African aesthetic and embodies her interest in ancestor veneration.  

She purposefully uses dark clay bodies “to reference the skin tones of my ancestors and reflect a deep love of self.” Williams-Turnage writes, “the idea of loving and embracing the brown is not something often promoted in mainstream media as a good or positive thing. I want to change that.”  

Much of her art practice is intuitive and she typically creates work using various methods including wheel throwing, hand-building, and traditional Nigerian and Ghanaian pottery techniques. Williams-Turnage often adorns the work with a variety of objects like fruit, feathers, and necklaces—both found and artist-made—that symbolize offerings. Her overall body of work straddles what appears to be artifacts with objects that are more colorful and seemingly modern. Williams-Turnage’s ceramics uniquely meld the past and present with an African-centric sense of hopefulness for the future.  

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photo of exhibition