Log in

Welcome to
mid-South Sculpture Alliance

Log in

MSA is thrilled to support BIPOC artists working in the field of sculpture with our brand new Vision 2020 grant! Over fifty artists submitted applications and the talent, creativity, and technical prowess of the applicant pool was competitive and impressive. Jurors Dr. Kimberli Gant (the McKinnon Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art at the Chrysler Museum of Art), Miranda Kyle (Arts & Culture Program Manager for the Atlanta BeltLine), and Nandini Makrandi Jestice (the Chief Curator at Hunter Museum of American Art) took immense care in ranking each artist in the pool, and the winners are Manami Ishimura, McArthur Freeman II, and Azza El Siddique!

vision 2020 Winners

Azza El Siddique

Azza El Siddique Artist Statement

Time simultaneously contracts and expands, dissipates and crystalizes, swells and recedes; it cyclically loops and folds onto and into itself in order to inch forward. Through decrepit monuments and ruins, shrouded in loss, we are able to evaluate our past, present and future. My work grapples at tracing the invisible and the residual through time in order to understand entropy. Multifaceted installations composed of architectural structures and materials address ideas of mortality, death, science, mythology, religion, and spirituality through a catch-and-release system.

Scent, smoke, vapor, and water are set up in environments that begin to shift, warp, deteriorate, rehydrate, infuse, and extract. Materials and structures have been stripped down to their essential forms to instigate collapses, spills and releases. My work sets up a parameter of questions to explore what permeates death and what can be revived through it. The installation let me hear you sweat (2018) generate questions like: Is it possible to rehydrate unfired clay to its malleable state, to warp and break down the slip cast objects? Bodies of Water (2018), Begin in smoke, End in ashes Pt. I (2019) and Begin in smoke, End in ashes Pt. II (2019) uses a system of archeological unearthing to address mortality through religious traditions. These more recent installations ask how we control, process, and understand the uncontrollable. How do science and religion work to disseminate information throughout history? Measure of one (2020) continues to embark on such questions about spirituality, investigating what it takes to uphold a belief and why we continue to rely on systems embedded in violence and oppression.

Within each installation, materials, liquids and mechanical components simultaneously instigate and untether a series of events, tracing the invisible and showing cracks, flaws and leaks within systems. Most importantly, what is left behind—whether scent, water marks, or rust stains—speaks to the idea of legacy. Something new can evolve and grow within a space, building upon a foundation that was once there. 

McArthur Freeman

McArthur Freeman Artist Statement

Plump gestural shapes that are layered with skins, flaps, orifices, sacs, and appendages are features of my recent works. The works have grown out of my reflections on the historical monsterization and exoticization of Black bodies. The results are transfigured anatomically inspired forms that explore hybridity and identity. Their shiny bulbous forms, which oscillate between abstraction and figuration, evolve from my intuitive process of finding forms through both drawing and sculptural studies. In a pseudo-scientific way, I combine abstract patterns, human anatomy, and shapes found in nature to create a diverse range of specimen-like forms. Spliced together from bits and pieces of multiple sources, their surreal shapes are familiar but no longer recognizable. As hybrid forms, they are as much about the loss of identity as they are about the concoction of new ones. They manifest as curious mutations and strange figurations, which are at once beautiful, grotesque, sensual, and humorous.

My works combine three overlapping cutting edge technologies, which are digital sculpting, 3D scanning, and digital fabrication. Working with polygons that are manipulated on-screen, I push, pull, carve, and mold forms as if working with digital clay. The objects are formed virtually through digital sculpting with pressure sensitive digital tablets or virtual reality sculpting using a VR headset and touch controllers, which track the movements of my head and hands. The resulting digital sculptures and are then 3D printed and fabricated in other materials, such as resin, bronze, ceramics, and wood. It is a process that involves both invention and discovery. From scribbles to data, and data to material, I relish the ability to find forms and materialize them in the physical world.

My most recent project, An Open Book, is a public art project that is a more direct return to the figure for me. In contrast to my abstract works, the specific representation of Black bodies and features is key to this project and other upcoming works. During this project, I developed a process for digitally sculpting, CNC routing, and assembling the sections to create a larger multi-figure work that is cast in bronze. Throughout my work, I am engaged with both the representation of Blackness and the construction of identity. This exploration of ideas through both abstraction and more direct representation of Blackness and Black bodies offers me a dual approach which can more effectively address the complexity of these issues. In the end, it is my hope that these works aid in normalizing Blackness and creatingcounternarratives about identity.

Ishimura Manami

Manami Ishimura Artist Statement

When I lived in a temple in Lamphum, Thailand to practice meditation, my conscious mind went away from my physical element. In that moment, only breathing connected my body and my consciousness.

My experience living in other countries led me to be aware of this kind of moment and the liminal states not only between consciousness and body but between myself and others, and between inanimate elements and living organisms. Living in the United States has elevated my awareness of my identity as a Japanese, as well as the uncertain boundary between me and others. My past exhibited projects represent that common beauty which crosses borders and reflects the ephemeral life of its beauty, as in that quiet but profound moment of breathing.

Thousands of Cranes is an installation in which each viewer is invited to break a ceramic origami crane and replace it with a new folded paper crane. In Japan, we have a ritual where we fold a thousand origami cranes for a someone we wish well, as a gift of effort and care. Once the

recipient is better, they bring the origami to a Shinto shrine and burn it for purification. Thousands of Cranes is my appreciation of this activity, which simultaneously represents hope, and accepts the laws of nature. Just as the paper cranes of the original ritual are burned at a shrine, I emphasize purification through fire by covering origami paper with porcelain slip and firing it. The kiln burns away the paper, leaving a fragile porcelain shell as a metaphor of forgiveness. Participants have a personal experience of this natural dynamism by engaging with a fragile object and with the ephemeral beauty of life from another cultural perspective.

Shadow of Lives is an expression of the pure existence of people, along with their happy memories. In 2016, I collected locks of hair from people, to represent their personality, their DNA, and their culture. I sandwiched each lock of hair between two pieces of microscope slide glass and heated it, fusing the glass and trapping patterns of ash from the hair, representing the pure essence of life. The resulting objects are independent of each person’s outer appearance. The trapped ash and written memories from each donor are juxtaposed to present the unbiased essentials of each existence.

My work with PLA plastic using a 3D pen represents the effort to respect the dynamic transfer of energy, like the sprouting of a plant. The repetitive movements of my hands as I draw in space generate a liminal state similar to the practice of meditation. My art projects generate empathetic aesthetics between me and the viewer, whether by involving people as participants, or creating liminal states to enrich the cultural exchange between us. My works strive to depict the ephemeral beauty of moments which generally go unseen.

vision 2020 jurors

Kimberli Gant, PhD is the McKinnon Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art at the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, VA. She was previously the Mellon Doctoral Fellow in the Arts of Global Africa Department at the Newark Museum, in Newark, NJ, and worked as the Director of Exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary African Diaspora Arts (MoCADA). She has also guested curated for Deutsch Bank NY and Dept of African American/African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas Austin. Her exhibition experience includes Multiple Modernisms, Wondrous Worlds: Art & Islam Through Time & Place (2016), De-Luxe (2012), and There is No Looking Glass Here: Wide Sargasso Sea Re-Imagined (2010).

Kimberli received her PhD in Art History from the University of Texas Austin (2017), as well as holds both a MA and BA in Art History from Columbia University (2009) and Pitzer College (2002).

Miranda Kyle is the Program Manager of Arts and Culture for Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. (ABI) and curates the annual Art on the Atlanta BeltLine Public Art Exhibition. After an academic fellowship with ABI, and assisting with installations in the subsequent years, Kyle was appointed to her current position in 2017. Since then, she has restructured ABI’s Public Art Program, managed an NEA Our Town grant to create and implement an Arts and Culture Strategic Implementation Plan, and overseen the commissioning of hundreds of art activations along the corridor.  In her role as the Program Manager for Arts and Culture she supports the department of Design and Construction to incorporate art into park and trail design, engage developers to consider public art in their construction, and advise on secondary design elements like benches and future transit stops.  Additionally, Kyle works on interdepartmental collaborations with Community Engagement and Planning by managing relationships with outside arts organizations and institutions such as the National Black Arts Festival, the Woodruff Center for the Arts, Living Walls, Southern Fried Queer Pride, and Artlanta Gallery. She ensures the local creative community is integrated into the public art program with activations like Family Paint Day, and the Special Projects platform that asks the communities on the BeltLine to put forth their ideas for exhibitions.

Kyle holds an MFA in Sculpture from the Savannah College of Art and Design, and an MA in Painting and Drawing from the Edinburgh College of Arts. She was awarded the 2013 Lee Kimche McGrath Fellowship for Arts & Sciences for her research in utilizing 3D printing technologies within traditional foundry practices, and in 2014 she was awarded the StarSeed Fellowship to research the intersection of Public Art, Performance and Space in Riga and Pedvale, Latvia. She has curated exhibitions locally and internationally over the last ten years, ranging in disciplines from performance to public art.

Nandini Makrandi has been the Chief Curator of the Hunter Museum since 2013. Prior to becoming Chief Curator, Nandini was the Hunter Museum’s Curator of Contemporary Art for nine years and Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga.   During her tenure at the Hunter, Nandini has focused on increasing diversity and dialogue within the collection and exhibitions program by broadening the museum’s contemporary holdings, curating over 70 changing exhibitions, organizing the first five nationally touring exhibitions at the Hunter, and originating several seminar courses in contemporary art and criticism for the University. Nandini was a recipient of an American Alliance of Museums Curators Committee Fellowship, and participated in the Getty Leadership and Management Seminar. Before joining the Hunter, Nandini was a curator at the Knoxville Museum of Art for seven years and worked with the Cameron Museum of Art in Wilmington, North Carolina. She participates regularly in the region as a juror, guest curator and speaker, and is a member for the American Alliance of Museums and the Southeastern Museums Conference.  She just completed the Hamilton County Schools Leadership class and is an active member of Public Art Chattanooga.

Call: +803-956-9876


PO Box 333101
Murfreesboro, TN 37133
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software