Dancing in the Diaspora

Autumn T. Thomas
Feb 3 - Feb 26, 2023

"Dancing in the Diaspora” is an exhibit that shares the experience of one Black artist who discovers her ancestral connection to woodworking during a month-long residency in Paramaribo, Suriname. The work in this exhibition was created on my return from South America, with a newly discovered sense of self and purpose. As a self-taught, contemporary woodworker, my urge to manipulate wood is intrinsic and instinctual. Like the experience of bonding with the Dutch-speaking Surinamese and the Saramakan-speaking Maroons, despite our lack of shared language – my relationship with wood is ineffable; it calls to me, and I answer. It was only after living, eating, and sleeping among people who looked like me, laughed like me, whose skin and smiles shone like mine, that I could experience my true self. Now I can freely wield my love for making and share the blessings of my ancestors with you.


Artist Bio:

Autumn T. Thomas (b. 1978) creates wood sculptures that challenge the boundaries of visual literacy: hundreds of cuts placed into the wood transforms it into soft, twisting forms, mimicking the endurance required to thrive amidst the oppression and marginalization of women of color; each cut represents a time in which Thomas felt cut down by society. Minimal in design, Thomas' work personifies analogous, brown bodies as whispering forms of subversion, affecting prejudice by way of perception and visual literacy. 

Thomas is a current artist in residence at Redline Contemporary Art Center in Denver, CO where she lives and works. She is sponsored by Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator and National Performance Network. She received her MFA in Book Arts and Printmaking from The University of the Arts, Philadelphia in 2017 and her BFA in Visual Communication from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2015.


Public Hours:

This exhibition is intended to be viewed from the exterior of the gallery, so there will be no regular open gallery hours held.

If you are interested in setting up a private visit by appointment, please contact info@understudydenver.com


Understudy is free-to-visit and open to all. We are located at the Colorado Convention Center / Theatre District light rail stop near 14th and Stout. Look for the Shantell Martin art bench.

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