Ella Maria Ray
2012 Corn Mother Honoree
Ella Maria Ray is a daughter of Denver’s dust, rooted in African American southern tradition. She is an associate professor of African American Studies and cultural and visual anthropology, a student of the Jamaican Rastafarian movement, and a visionary creator of material culture. She creates a relationship between ethnographic data and visual art as a tool for understanding our human experience.
Ray earned a B.A. from Colorado College, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Anthropology from Johns Hopkins University. She has studied figurative and conceptual ceramic sculpture independently with Arthur González and has taken sculpture classes from Jean Van Keuren, Arnold Zimmerman, and Barry Rose and Gayla Lemke.
Ray’s ceramic sculpture and academic inquiry emerge from a commitment to acknowledge the ways in which continental and African diaspora share cultural commonalities, while simultaneously expressing cultural distinctions. As an anthropologist and visual artist, she strives to understand the complex vision that African diaspora are creating and contributingto humanity in the twenty-first century.
Do your best to treat everyone with dignity and respect, because whether we are aware of it or not, we are all magnificent and connected.
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