The intersections of race, gender, history, and the environment are the basis of my work. I am deeply interested in traditions surrounding African rituals, especially those related to hair, which slipped through the cracks of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. These traditions are often imbedded into my work, as hair braiding was a passageway for stepping into my womanhood, and to also come to terms with the distance I feel from African culture.

The ways in which I think of material, texture, color and clay body all reference the human body. Black soap and shea butter surfaces reference the ritualistic cloaking of African-ness when I cover myself and my work in it. Porcelain’s skin is fragile and holds a reflective quality in its stark whiteness, while my black tar-like slips, glazes and other substances speak to the weight of being black that has accrued over time and generations.

Death is a reoccurring theme in my work as I interpret the severing of cultural traditions, self-identity in changing environments and other subjects in my work as forms of death. Whether in representations of the death of the body, identity, or the planet that supports us, my tombstones, vessels, and tiles often become abstractions of the body to express ideas of death as human commonality. My use of abstraction allows for multiple points of entry, so that a viewer may be seduced by a beautiful or textured object, and thereby pulled into deeper conversations on identity, race, and gender.

Jada Patterson was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and now lives and works in Kansas City, Missouri. At the Kansas City Art Institute, she is a candidate for a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ceramics, Art History, and a Social Practice Certificate. Her work explores the human condition pertaining to identity, culture, or decay. Clay is her medium of choice, but she ventures into other mediums such as mixed and converging media. She has had several internships in Kansas City including the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in curation in African Art, Exhibition Installation and Lighting, and School Programs. Jada was the curatorial intern at the H&R Block Artspace and worked there as a gallery assistant. She has also interned at the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures and curated and designed a show for the Geothe Institute Popup KC. Jada has studied internationally at the Studio Arts College International in Italy and was awarded the Benjamin J. Gilman Scholarship through the U.S. Department of State in 2018.