Artifacts are a tangible history which have the capacity to retain, transform, destroy, erase and evoke lost knowledge. My artwork is informed by researching traditional African heirlooms and initiation rites of birth, adulthood, marriage, eldership, and ancestry which are essential to all human growth and speaks to the greater African diaspora. Along with my interest in history, science-fiction, and hip-hop culture, I utilize ceramics as a historical and base material to inform memories of the past. The handling of clay reveals the process and shares the markings of its maker. By using a needle tool, I create individual marks on the surface of the clay with each strand becoming a collective form. I compare the construction and deconstruction of materials to the remix in rap music and how human beings adapt to different environments and reinvent new identities.
The application of repeated texture and patterns on the surface of my sculptures imbue a visual language of memory, ritual, comfort and a sense of familiarity to the viewer. These sculptures are vessels that are turned upside down further symbolizing the crazy world we live in. Ceramics becomes a bridge to conceptually integrate disparate objects and or images for the purpose of creating new understandings and connections with the material, history, and social-political issues. These modern artifacts preserve, empower, and document the past and present to initiate healing and understanding for the future.
About Donté Hayes
Donté K. Hayes graduated summa cum laude from Kennesaw State University at Kennesaw, Georgia with a BFA in Ceramics and Printmaking with an art history minor. Hayes received his MA and MFA with honors from the University of Iowa and is the 2017 recipient of the University of Iowa Arts Fellowship. Recent art exhibitions include groups shows at the Museum of Science + Industry, Chicago, Illinois, the Trout Museum of Art, Appleton, Wisconsin, and the 2021 Atlanta Biennial at the Atlanta Contemporary in Georgia. Donté’s artwork has been presented at the 1-54 art fair, London, England, Design Miami, Florida, and a solo presentation at the 2021 Armory Art fair, NYC.
His work is included in the permanent collections of the Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C., The Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, South Carolina, and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Texas. Hayes is a 2019 Ceramics Monthly Magazine Emerging Artists and Artaxis Fellow. Donté is the 2019 winner of the 1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern art from the Gibbes Museum of Art. Donté K. Hayes is represented by Mindy Solomon Gallery in Miami, Florida.