Sonya Clark

biography

“I was born in Washington, DC to a psychiatrist from Trinidad and a nurse from Jamaica. I gained an appreciation for craft and the value of the handmade primarily from my maternal grandmother who was a professional tailor. Many of my family members taught me the value of a well-told story and so it is that I value the stories held in objects.”

Sonya Clark is Professor of Art at Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts. Previously, she was a Distinguished Research Fellow in the School of the Arts and Commonwealth Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University where she served as chair of the Craft/Material Studies Department from 2006 until 2017. In 2016, she was awarded a university-wide VCU Distinguished Scholars Award. She earned an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art and was honored with their Distinguished Alumni Award in 2011. She has a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her first college degree is a BA from Amherst College where she received an honorary doctorate in 2015. Her work has been exhibited in over 350 museum and galleries in the Americas, Africa, Asia, Europe and Australia. She is the recipient of a United States Artists Fellowship, a Pollock Krasner award, an 1858 Prize, an Art Prize Grand Jurors Award, and an Anonymous Was a Woman Award. She has had the opportunity to make work alongside creative individuals at the Red Gate Residency in China, the BAU Carmago Residency in France, the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Residency in Italy, the Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship in DC, the Knight Foundation Residency at the McColl in North Carolina, the Civitella Ranieri Residency in Italy, the Yaddo Residency in NY, and the VCUarts Affiliate Fellowship at the American Academy in Rome. Most recently, she was an inaugural recipient of the Black Rock Senegal Residency Fellowship.
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Her work has been favorably reviewed in several publications including the New York Times, Sculpture, Art in America, Philadelphia Inquirer, Time Magazine, Italian Vogue, Los Angeles Times, Hyperallergic, Mother Jones, Huffington Post, and many others.
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“Clark affirms her affinity for … an aesthetic of improvisational materiality.”

—Lowery Stokes Sims
curator, Museum of Arts and Design