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Can you see us now? A Diversity, Equity, & Inclusivity Ceramics Symposium

When: Tuesday, October 12, 2021
9:00 AM - Wednesday, October 13, 2021 3:30 PM
Cost: Free
Description: Artists Highlight Legacy of Colonialism in 2-Day Symposium

The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Ceramics Club is proud to present: Can you see us now? A Diversity, Equity, & Inclusivity Ceramics Symposium, October 12th and 13th. Three contemporary artists, Natalia Arbelaez, Leila Babirye, and Courtney M. Leonard will create and discuss their investigations of ancestral origin, personal identity, and the legacy of colonization.

All three artists will demonstrate their techniques, present slide lectures of their work, and participate in a panel discussion. Demonstrations will take place in the tents behind the CVPA building at the main campus. The artists will present their slide lectures and participate in a panel discussion, moderated by Dr. Pamela Karimi, in the Grand Reading Room, 122, in the Claire T. Carney library. We will have an open dialogue about making personal ceramic work, issues facing today's and future generations of BIPOC-LGBTQ artists and encouraging critical discourse and sharing the issues and challenges of being a BIPOC-LGBTQ artist and interfacing with systems such as art institutions, including academia.

This is a free event! Don't miss out on this unique opportunity! Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend!


9:00-12:30 Artist Demonstrations in tents behind the CVPA
12:30-1:30 Lunch break on site
1:30-3:30 Artist Demonstrations in tents behind the CVPA
3:30-5:00 Artist Slide Presentations in the Library's Grand Reading Room, 122

9:00-12:30 Artist Demonstrations in tents behind the CVPA
12:30-1:30 Lunch break on site
1:30-3:30 Artists Panel Discussion in the Library's Grand Reading Room, 122
Symposium concludes


Natalia Arbelaez is a Columbian American artist, born and raised in Miami, Florida, to immigrant parents. Her terracotta sculptures often involve figures interacting with one another or conveying emotion with their facial expressions. She draws from her Colombian family's immigration story to tell a larger cultural history of hybridization that is a result of migration.

Leilah Babirye was forced to flee Uganda when she was outed as a lesbian by a local newspaper. She sought asylum in the United States, when she was threatened by her country's virulent homophobic laws. Babirye's work often amplifies the disparity between the patriarchal systems of British colonialization and the matriarchal clan systems of historical Uganda. In addition to clay, she uses wood and found objects, including debris found on the streets.

Courtney M. Leonard is an artist and filmmaker, of the Shinnecock nation, which occupied the territory between Long Island and Connecticut. Leonard's work is an exploration and documentation of historical ties to place and sustainability. In collaboration with national and international museums, cultural institutions, and indigenous communities, Leonard's practice investigates narratives of cultural viability as a reflection of environmental record.

For more information, please contact Elizabeth K. Alvarez at

This event is sponsored by the Frederick Douglass Unity House, The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity, and the College of Visual and Performing Arts.
Contact: > See Description for contact information
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