Lot 221
  • 221


15,000 - 20,000 USD
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  • Simone Leigh
  • Untitled
  • salt-fired stoneware and metal base
  • 16 1/8 by 7 1/2 by 6 7/8 in. 41 by 19.1 by 17.5 cm.
  • Executed in 2013.


Tiwani Contemporary, London
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2013

Catalogue Note

Elegant and totemic, Simone Leigh’s Untitled sculpture from 2013 is a masterful investigation of the cultural signifiers of race and gender in visual culture. Cast from watermelon husks, Leigh’s cowrie shell sculptures take on the racist legacy of that fruit in American culture, often manifesting in mass produced blackface memorabilia, which depicted their subjects with exaggerated features, gleefully devouring watermelon. Leigh uses this form to destabilize this hegemonic, racist imagery, by using African ceramic techniques to transform the watermelon into that of the cowrie shell, a natural feature that was once a currency and powerful store of value. This new form, which is both yonic and mouth-like in Leigh’s reconceptualization, underscores the artist’s ability to bring together her interrogation of blackness and womanhood into a compelling and allusive pictorial language.