29/09/2021 - 09/01/2022

New Work - Ceramics

Theaster Gates - A Clay Sermon

O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.
– Isaiah 64:8

In Christian scripture, the relationship between God and humanity is analogous to the potter working with clay. ‘As a potter’, according to Theaster Gates, ‘you learn how to shape the world’. Clay and religion are foundational to the artistic practice of the Chicago based artist who has received international acclaim for his community and cultural interventions in Black space, particularly on the South Side of Chicago. As a youth, Gates joined the New Cedar Grove Missionary Baptist Church choir and, subsequently, studied urban planning, theology and ceramics.

A Clay Sermon is an exposition of the significance of clay, its material and spiritual legacies. Bringing together research, ideas, process and production, this exhibition surveys works by Gates across two decades from his early hand-thrown pots to his large-scale Afro-Mingei sculptures. It explores craft, labour, performance and racial identity; the use of clay in building communities of knowledge, its role in colonialism and global trade and the ceremonial and ritual use of ceramics.


Aldgate 82 Whitechapel High St, E1 7QX