Referencing to African tribal art and African American “folk” traditions, Nari Ward’s mid-career survey at the Barnes Foundation touches the dynamics of power and politics.
“Sun Splashed” is a mid-career survey of the found-object assemblage art of Nari Ward, presented at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia. Ward’s oeuvre resonates with the Barnes collection and speaks with penetrating insight and imagination to a broad range of subjects, including black history and culture, the dynamics of power and politics, and Caribbean diaspora identity.
Animated by flânerie – the first-hand engagement with urban street life that similarly animated French Impressionism – he makes reference to African tribal art and African American “folk” traditions. Ward has expanded contemporary definitions of installation and assemblage with his massive, tactile approach to art. His deft use of materials gathered in and around urban neighborhoods imbues his work with a relationship to the real world, allowing him to challenge viewers’ perceptions of familiar objects and experiences.