Do it with bead work

SCOTT_Joyce Kanji 2

By: Jessica Ricks, Staff Writer 

You don’t have to post on social media or take to the streets to protest in order to make a political statement — sometimes, multidisciplinary artist Joyce Scott says, you can do it with beadwork.

On Wednesday, Scott spoke to the audience about her life and artwork while pictures of her art were projected behind her. The pieces consist of complex bead designs, many of which are accompanied by sculpture and blown glass. She inherited her artistic talents from her family, she said.

“They may not have been able to read or write, but boy could they turn a song,” Scott said of her great grandparents.

Scott attended the Maryland Institute College of Art and received a degree in education, which was quickly abandoned. She jokingly said that if she had stayed a teacher she would have ended up a 700-pound alcoholic, so she went on to get her masters in crafts. Her work has been featured in museums including the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Smithsonian.

Scott specializes in bead work, but also dabbles in prints, textiles and sculpture. She also dabbles in painting and performance, which she attributes to her background in dancing and signing. But her true passion stays in bead work.

She likes to make statements with her artwork about race, politics, sexism and stereotypes. “Chalklines.” for example, was a piece about violence in the streets. She said that everyone is influenced by racism and prejudice in some way, which she raises awareness of through her artwork.

“There is no way we’re not all influenced by or touched by it,” she said. “If it isn’t here, you’re reading about it across the sea.”

One series, entitled “Still Funny,” depicts race through a humorous lens, and Scott hopes that, one day, will be free and equal enough for people to see the humor in it.

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