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The Creativity of The Industrial Slaves

The High Museum of Art’s Newest Exhibition
Lizzy Gordon
Works from the exhibition.

Atlanta’s High Museum of Art introduces its newest exhibition, Hear Me Now: The Black Potters of Old Edgefield, South Carolina.

The exhibition will be running now through May 12.

The art depicts the story of enslaved potters of the Old Edgefield district. While the art in the museum can be described as beautiful and excellent craftsmanship, the vessels and pieces were made under duress.

“These are powerful, spiritual vessels, vases, pitchers and jugs. These are the revival of African-inspired art. The face vessels on display are in relation to death and funeral traditions. The high contributed some pieces from our collection but the rest are on tour from Boston,” said Hannah Loke, employee at the High Museum.

The Hear Me Now exhibition brings attention to the enslaved potters and shows their creativity, skill and knowledge.



There were tens of thousands of vessels made every year in Old Edgefield by the 1840s.

The first part of the exhibition starts with a variety of vessels and vases. Each one is unique and has many details to examine.

“People should know our history and never stop telling our stories. We’ve been oppressed to the lowest depths and yet we climbed to the highest heights. That is power,” said Tennille James, guest of the high museum.

The second part opens to a room of featured works. There is a display wall for guest of The High to interact and write down what the art means to them. This part of the exhibit shows all the enslaved artists names, so each person gets recognition.

The final part takes viewers through different works of faces. There are many cases full of clay made faces.

“The clay faces are haunting almost. The art is so unique but the timeframe when these pieces were made make you feel a sadness. I am glad we can look back on these works and give recognition.” -Eliza Hafner, guest of the high museum.

The exhibit’s many different layers show guests the creativity that can come from even the hardest struggles.

The Hear Me Now: The Black Potters of Old Edgefield has been on tour for months and its final stop of the tour will be in Atlanta before this piece of history goes back to Boston.

To get a feel for the featured art in Hear Me Now, click here.

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Lizzy Gordon, Staff Writer
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