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"Ciò che muore"

Dawn Holder

Dawn Holder.JPG

As a resident of the rural southern United States, I have spent the past year researching and making artwork in reaction to Confederate monuments throughout the state of Arkansas— looking closely at how these public spaces, structures, and sculptures have been utilized and aestheticized to promote racial segregation, reinforce social hierarchy, and define ethnic and political boundaries. Like much of recorded history, monuments reflect more about the perspectives of those who are or were in power than the multiplicity and diversity of actual lived human experience. My recent sculptures and installations reference these monuments, their form and their inscribed text, as well as their relationship to the landscape, through imagery of decay and fragmentation. During my stay in Rome, I have been able to look back through time at various iterations of the monument, with a focus on the rich visual history of ancient equestrian monuments. Like Confederate monuments made in the same tradition, these sculptures enforce a rigid hierarchy: the powerful equestrian is not only in control of his horse, he also towers over us, the viewer. We become the humble subjects or even the conquered enemy. By excerpting and recontextualizing fragments of these iconic sculptures, I imagine a time when even the most powerful and enduring monuments find themselves in a state of ruination and decay.


An Associate Professor of Art, Dawn Holder teaches ceramics, sculpture, and art history at the University of the Ozarks, in Clarksville, AR. She is the recipient of various awards and grants, including the Arkansas Arts Council 2015 Individual Artist Fellowship Grant for Sculpture and Installation, the Bagwell Outstanding Faculty Award in 2016, the Grand Prize at the 59th Delta Exhibition at the Arkansas Arts Center in 2017, and, most recently, the Grand Prize at the 4x4 2018 Midwest Invitational Exhibition at the Springfield Art Museum. 


Holder has shown her work in galleries and museums throughout the United States, including the National Museum for Women in the Arts; Disjecta Contemporary Art Center; the Zuckerman Museum of Art; the Zanesville Museum of Art; and the Historic Arkansas Museum. From 2013-2017, Holder  served as the Coordinator of Projects Space, a performative and installation-based exhibition of experimental ceramics at the annual National Council on Education for the Ceramics Arts (NCECA) conference. She earned an MFA in Ceramics from the Rhode Island School of Design and a BFA in Ceramics from the University of Georgia. Her residency is supported by the Lighton International Artist Exchange Program.

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