Artwork by Charles Pinckney
Charles Pinckney, Athens Ga
My work is about connections. I was born in Rembert, South Carolina in a small wooden house on a dusty red clay road located not far from where my parents spent their childhood and grew up. The earliest known member of my father’s family has been traced to the census of 1870. It was the first census to count Black Americans by name and not as slaves and he was 30 years old at that time. He was an emancipated slave, now set free. I am irrevocably tied to this man.
It may sound strange to hear me say that I am proud and honored to have had slaves in my family. My work is a reflection of the tenacity and steadfast determination of my ancestors and of their enduring hope. These are my assumptions about my ancestors, assumptions drawn from countless examples that I have witnessed in their descendants, my parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins. My work is derived from a lifetime of interaction with these people. I have seen their determination, their spirit that sometimes roared like an inferno and at other times burned with just a tiny flicker of a flame that would not be put out. The knowledge that this heritage is mine permeates my work. I bring honor to my ancestors when I bring honor to my work.
Herein lies the real beauty of art. Works of art have the ability to promote dialog and to create communication. When I talk about my work I talk about stories of my people. Those listening to me may be reminded of something similar to one of their own memories. Just as individuals have stories, so do communities. Stories bring people together and unite groups across racial, ethnic, gender and social boundaries. Stories can be used to help promote healing.
Common features of my work include moving parts, articulated joins, the combination of precious and semi-precious metals and found objects. I use traditional metals techniques in my work and my favorite metal is titanium. I also work with gold, platinum, sterling, copper, bronze, steel, iron, wood and gem stones.
© Charles Pinckney 2019