Nari Ward: In Large Part

March 19, 2016

I get inspired by things that don’t fit in (Nari Ward, Spirit of the Street, Financial Times, December 4, 2015).


Photo: Nari Ward, Iron Heavens, 1995 (oven pans and burnt wooden bats)  in

Ward’s dramatic sculptural installations are composed of systematically collected material from his urban neighborhood. By revealing the numerous emotions inherent within found everyday objects, Ward’s works examine issues surrounding race, poverty, and consumer culture (

Nari Ward’s giant productions of found and reassembled objects are larger than life, despite being composed of everyday materials. He executes large scale physical constructions to evoke an experience of resonance within the reconfiguration of daily existence. His artistic residence is New York (although Jamaican-born) and the repercussions of his art are significant for all kinds of places and for all people. Ward explores the power of objects, their social formation, and their significance as cultural icons. He encounters chosen items and makes them other worldly, despite them being firmly entrenched within the crafting of human experience. His practical manipulation of matter is executed through labouring with a material. Each element holds an impression of his bodily contact, the personal markings of time spent in connection.


Photo: Artist Nari Ward on His Latest New York Show,, November 2, 2015

It’s all about engaging emotions. I want to take that energy and propel it into some other form (Artist Nari Ward on His Latest New York Show,, text by Thessaly La Force, November 2, 2015).


Photo: Nari Ward, Saviour, 1996 (garbage bags, cloth, bottles, shopping carts, mirror, chair, clocks) Pérez Art Museum, Miami

I need that mind/body connection that happens with labour and repetition. You get lost in it to the point where ideas come to you (Nari Ward, Spirit of the Street, Financial Times, December 4, 2015)

Ward’s example is a call for art therapists to thing “big” in regards to reassembling found and domestic finds. The objects compose a collection, a diary of events related to finding materials and also importing a sense of personal significance, where ordinary becomes something else. The installation of these large works reside within a locality, each piece a strident voice proclaiming an occupation of space and a demonstration of personal and social issues. Within art therapy putting ourselves out there can become a commitment to large scale exposure, not to be missed.

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