Jihye Han, Tammie Rubin and Earnest Snell Receive ClayHouston Inaugural Award for Texas BIPOC Ceramic Artist

Limitless: The Recipients of ClayHouston’s Award for Texas BIPOC Ceramic Artists opens at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft (HCCC) on Saturday, January 15, 2022. The exhibition presents the work of the recipients of the inaugural award for 2021: Jihye Han, Tammie Rubinand Earnest Snell.

ClayHouston, a member-based non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the art of ceramics in and outside Houston, launched a call for applications for this award in February 2021. The award was established in response to two significant events in 2020: the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and the uprising protesting against police brutality against blacks.

Jessica Phillips, President of ClayHouston, said in a press release: “Since 2020, ClayHouston’s Board of Directors has spent time reflecting on ceramics, both locally in Houston and more broadly in the United States. Our goal is to support artists who are affected by systemic racism and the economic uncertainty that COVID has created. By creating the award for Texas BIPOC Ceramic Artists, we hope to cultivate greater justice, inclusiveness and attitude in the ceramic arts. ”

Jurors Natalia Arbelaez, Adam Chau, Jennifer Ling Datchuk and Roberto Lugo were tasked with selecting the winners in the “Emerging” and “Mid-Career & Beyond” categories. However, due to the large number of deserving applicants, the jurors applied for the inclusion of the third prize – “Honorable Mention”.

Limitless: The 2021 Recipients of ClayHouston Award for Texas BIPOC Ceramic Artists is curated by HCCC Curatorial Fellow Cydney Elaine Pickens and will be on view from January 15 to March 5, 2022.

Find out more about the award recipients through their resumes below, courtesy of HCCC.

Photo of ceramic sculpture.  The object is painted white with brightly painted illustrations.  Artwork by Jihye Han.

Jihye Han, “Little Moments and Big Memories”, 2021, white earthenware, 6 oxidation cone, 19 x 13 x 13 inches. Photo by Yeonsoo Kim. Photo courtesy of Jihye Han.

Jihye Han, emerging award winner

Jihye Han, based in Houston, Texas, holds a BFA in Sculpture and Ceramics from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and an MFA in Ceramics from the University of North Texas. She has exhibited at the 500X Gallery (Dallas, TX), CICA Museum (Gimpo, South Korea), Clay Center of New Orleans and elsewhere. She holds many awards and scholarships, including a 2021 Graduate Student Fellowship for the National Council for Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) and a 2,022 residency at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft.

Photos of a group of 7 statues of different sizes.  Each component is cone-shaped with a pair of circles or almond-shaped holes resembling eyes.  Some works are painted completely black, while others are white and covered with black circles that are placed close together.  Drawing by Tammie Rubin.

Tammie Rubin, „Always & Forever (ever, ever) No. 9 “, 2021. Pigmented porcelain, under glaze. Photo by Hector Martinez. Photo courtesy of Tammie Rubin.

Tammie Rubin, Mid Career & Beyond Recipient

Tammie Rubin was born in Chicago, Illinois and is currently an associate professor of ceramics and sculpture at St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX. Rubin holds a BFA in Ceramics and Art History from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and an MFA in Ceramics from the University of Washington in Seattle. She has exhibited throughout the country at Women & Their Work (Austin, TX), The South Dallas Cultural Center (Dallas, TX), Rockford Art Museum and elsewhere. Rubin founded the Black Mountain Project with other Austin artists Adrian Aguilera and Betelh Makonnen. She is currently a member of the non-profit ICOSA Collective Gallery and serves as vice president of the Austin Cultural Arts Panel in public places.

Photo of a statue of a figure.  Two images of people are carved on the sides of the figure's body.  A work of art by Earnest Snell.

Earnest Snell, “Big Mama”, 2005. Earthenware with oxides. 18 x 9 x 9 inches. Photo by Judy Adams. Photo courtesy of Foelber Gallery & Pottery Studio.

Serious Snell, recipient of the honorable mention

Earnest Snell is a self-taught artist based in Houston, TX. He is currently represented by Foelber Gallery and Pottery Studio and has been working in ceramics for 15 years. At the beginning of 2021 he had a solo exhibition at the Foelber Gallery entitled Earnest Snell at the age of 70. Retrospective in clay.

David Berry

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