Designer: Magdalene Odundo (British, born Nairobi, Kenya, 1950)

Date: 1997

Medium: Red clay

Dimensions: 19 3/4 x 13 in. (50.2 x 33 cm)

Classification: Ceramics-Pottery

Credit Line: Purchase, The Katcher Family Foundation Inc. Gift, and Gift of Susan Dwight Bliss, by exchange, 1998

Accession Number: 1998.328


Magdalene Odundo's vessels blend multiple associations and meanings in a manner that makes them simultaneously familiar and novel. Using the ancient coiling method, she begins by pulling a cone of clay upward as its middle is hollowed out to form the body of the vessel. Variations in the voluptuous body are expressed in the profile, gesture of the neck, and protruding nodules and then transformed and finished through firing. A partial reduction of oxygen created the gray/black tones of this piece, but the exact outcome is never completely controllable, adding an element of chance to the artistic process. The Kenyan-born artist's work is often linked to the pottery traditions of Africa. While a connection seems implicit, Odundo did not begin working in clay until she moved to Britain.