‘Ritual and Remembrance’

Louisa Shepard for Penn Today

Gbadebo’s works incorporate the cotton, indigo, and rice grown on the True Blue Plantation in Fort Motte, South Carolina, where her ancestors were enslaved. During the pandemic, Gbadebo traveled to the plantation to take her mother’s ashes to the burial ground. While there she decided to collect the red clay soil to create ceramic works. 

“That was the first time that I ran my fingers through the red earth. I was thinking a lot in that moment about all of that has been erased and lost,” she said. “The humans, my family, their ancestors, the blood, the tears, their flesh, all the pain, trauma, everything that has happened on that land is in the soil.”

June 23, 2023