North Carolina-based Jim McDowell, known to many simply as “the Black Potter,” is a ceramicist who specializes in stoneware face jugs, a type of vessel bearing the likeness of the human face. Through his work, he honors the origin of these culturally rich vessels and reflects on “living while Black” in America in order to call out the racism and injustice endemic to the USA. At seventy-five years old, McDowell says he is busier than ever.
“The story I’m telling, it’s that enslaved people came here, and they survived and thrived when every hand was stacked against them,” McDowell says. “I’m speaking for those who are marginalized, for those who were brought here in chains. and those who were never given an opportunity.”