Katherine Dunham represented in new sculpture at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
3 October, 2019
Allena Brazier, the Arts and Education Council’s fall 2018 Katherine Dunham Fellow, has been selected as one of eight finalists to participate in the Sculpture on Campus program at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Brazier’s sculpture honoring dancer, choreographer and activist Katherine Dunham will be on view beginning Oct. 4 for a year.
For the past 19 years, SIUE’s Sculpture on Campus program has enabled up to 12 students to design and install sculpture throughout the campus. Students get real-world experience starting with the submission process which includes a proposal, budget and a concept of the sculpture. Students create sculptures that follow any theme or style. Brazier took the opportunity to honor Dunham in a larger-than-life, abstract sculpture.
Over the course of four months, Brazier crafted the sculpture of steel rods, bending them using machinery and by hand and welding the rods together. She followed her intuition on what pieces to lay down next, asking, “Is it giving the flow and energy I want to convey?”
The steel gives the work strength, but the bends and curves are designed to capture the energy and movement of Dunham’s costumes. The red paint was selected to convey passion and Dunham’s fiery spirit. While the sculpture with its platform stands around 10 feet tall, Brazier wants viewers to have an intimate experience seeing the sculpture.
Sculpture on Campus culminates with the 19th annual Sculpture Walk which includes an opportunity for each artist to briefly speak about their artwork.
Brazier shared, “I made sure to honor and pay tribute to Miss Dunham by using my passions. During the event there will be around 300 people on the Sculpture Walk and I am excited to educate briefly and speak Miss Dunham's name.”
In addition to being selected as the fall 2018 Katherine Dunham Fellow, Brazier holds many connections to Katherine Dunham’s legacy. As a child in East St. Louis, Brazier was taught Dunham’s dance technique and Dunham made significant contributions to SIUE where Brazier will earn her Bachelor of Fine Arts in sculpture.
Brazier said, “I believe everything is coming full circle. The connections I have with Miss Dunham's legacy are amazing to me.”
Sculpture on Campus culminates with the 19th annual Sculpture Walk at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 4. The walk starts from the Art & Design East Lobby and will proceed throughout the campus, displaying the works of eight student artists. An awards ceremony will be held at 6:00 p.m. at the Art & Design West main auditorium with a reception will follow at approximately 7:00 p.m. at the Art & Design West Gallery.
To keep programs like the Katherine Dunham Fellowship happening in our community, make a gift to the Arts and Education Council today.