B I S I L A N O H A
Baney Clay: An Unearthed Identity
is a project I started in 2020, which turned into a milestone in my personal journey to connect with my own ancestry and blackness.
The title, Baney, is the name of my Dad’s home village in Equatorial Guinea (EG), where the clay I have used comes from. The initial ten pieces I made to launch the project are now followed by twelve more, most of them made with recycled clay from collapsed attempts from 2020. My aim with this body of work is to question the ‘norm’ in Art. On the one hand, Art from the South has historically been considered ‘primitive’ or ‘exotic’ and belittled. And on the other, when it comes to Pottery - a traditionally female craft -, the moment the wheel is invented and men take over, hand-built pots - those mostly made by women within their domestic compounds - are taken for granted and assigned no artistic value. With my practice, I want to build bridges and unite us all. And thus, the Baney pieces are made with different mixtures of Stoneware and/or Porcelain - representing the North and men - and my Baney Clay, an allegory of the South and women. Just like the reality I am trying to depict, the result of all this mixing is full of tensions and struggles. For the shapes, I have drawn inspiration from everyday domestic vessels made in different African pottery traditions.
In an attempt to give the Baney Clay the opportunity to speak for itself, this time around I also made pieces only with this clay. Due to its lack of plasticity, the pieces are dramatically cracked: a metaphor of the Northern unquenchable desire to use and exploit Southern resources without respecting history, local traditions and the laws of nature.
I am Spanish London-based ceramics artist. With my work I aim to challenge Western views on art and craft; to question what we understand as productive and worthy in capitalist societies; and to reflect upon the idea of home and oneness pulling from personal experiences in different pottery communities. My work is primarily wheel thrown, with the distinctive addition of marbled slip decoration. For this new project, though, I set myself a new challenge by processing and using new clay bodies and mixing throwing and coiling. Strongly influenced by Japanese ceramics, I make ‘simple’ ceramic pieces that I use either as canvas for abstract landscapes or as the embodiment of my reflections and personal life stories
G A T H E R E R S - C U R R E N T W O R K
M O R E I M A G E S
C U R R E N T W O R K
A S S E E N I N
16th May 2020 - end date tbc when lockdown ends
Foraged, dug, cut and collected, the materials used by the artists and makers are not just about form, but are a way of exploring their surroundings; unique stories revolving around a sense of place.
P E R M E N A N T C O L L E C T I O N - A V A I L A B L E W O R K