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Luce Foundation Center for American Art

Craft: Jewelry: Africa

about 1980
Joyce Scott
glass beads on synthetic thread
14 1/2 x 10 x 1/2 in. (36.8 x 25.4 x 1.3 cm)
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Eleanor T. and Samuel J. Rosenfeld in honor of Kenneth R. Trapp, curator-in-charge of the Renwick Gallery (1995-2003)


Hear more about Africa 1.4MB

Joyce Scott associates her beadwork with American Indian, African American, and West African cultures. Scott grew up in Baltimore and trained in fine art and art history. Drawing on past generations of craftspeople in her family, she adapts the traditions of handcrafted beadwork to create edgy imagery that often suggests issues of race and gender. The expressive faces in Africa appear to tell a story, but Scott invites us to form our own ideas about what the piece means. She used the "peyote" stitch to craft the necklace, a technique that derives from American Indian beadwork. The name comes from the peyote cactus, which is eaten during spiritual ceremonies with a beaded utensil.

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