A Once in a Generation Exhibition:
Once in a generation, there are extraordinary exhibits that capture the mind and spirit and are of such significance that they are remembered forever.
The Bascom is proud to present such an exhibit this summer. “The Poetry & Pottery of Dave Drake.” Dave Drake was born into the condition of Slavery about the year 1800, in the Edgefield District of South Carolina. Not only was he trained by Abner Landrum and others at Pottersville on how to make alkaline-glazed stoneware, learned how to read and write!
Dave used these skills, normally forbidden to slaves, to communicate to the free and enslaved world around him his philosophy, his prose and his point of view on love, patriotism, commerce and religion. The pottery and poetry that is Dave’s legacy, is a rare and unique window into the life of a mid-nineteenth century African American craftsman, who lived most of his life in bondage. The verses are also referred to as couplets or poems, inscribed by Dave, in his hand, on his soft clay jars, at a time in which it was novel and eventually dangerous to do so. His vessels stand as sentinels to the abuses of privilege and the fettered ability to express ideas no matter the form it takes, artistic or otherwise. Even though we may not completely understand all their meanings, the fact that Dave wrote these verses communicate to us today glimpses of what his life was like is the powerful story this exhibition will tell.
The Bascom invites you to come and walk among his grand pottery and prose as we will have eight of Dave’s famous poem pots, the most on exhibit in one place since 1998, at The Bascom June 24-September 10, 2017. On loan from private collectors and museums, this is an exhibit is not to be missed.
While you are on The Bascom campus, be sure and visit the Dave Drake Studio Barn. Named for Dave Drake by an anonymous donor, you will be able to see potters working today utilizing some of the same techniques used by Dave Drake himself. Support for this extraordinary exhibit was provided by Platinum sponsors Jack and Lucy Kuhne and Diamond sponsors Ginger Kennedy and Kevin Naylor, Delta Air Lines and The Chaparral Foundation.