Sonya Clark

Beaded Prayers

The title of the project came from the shared etymology of the words “bead” and “prayer”. The Old English word, bede, became synonymous with ‘prayer’ because of the rosaries. The form, amulets containing powerful messages or substances, comes from African Diaspora traditions. These amulets are usually worn on the body for protection, health, and power. Amulets containing prayers are found throughout the world. Some are collectively “worn” by being placed on architecture (e.g., Jewish mezuzahs paced on doorposts to protect inhabitants). The presentation of the project is born out of this strategy of communal adornment and collective empowerment via architecture and clothing.

“Her inventive use of forms and bright colors make this work a strong statement of cultural identity.”

—Monica Blackmun Visona, Michael Harris, et al
A History of Art in Africa