Michael Dika

Artist Statement

My childhood playfulness was cut short, spending my entire life at the marketplace after school. Inspired by the daily performance taking place in the Ghanaian marketplace. I intuitively reconstruct the strenuous facial expressions, ritual-like relationship people have with the vessels they carry on their heads in my sculptures and installations. My interest in understanding the role of culture and nature in our world and how it shapes our identity. I use clay to explore ways of connecting these methodical daily rituals in my art-making process to my memories of routine work. From the sequential transformation of raw clay at various stages to the laborious handling and active involvement of physical labor is what resonates with me as an artist and clearly connects me to my childhood memories of manual labor.

The chaotic yet coherent arrangement of distorted and broken forms and on top of each other, are elements I adopt in exploring an interplay between tension and balance. Precariously carrying sculptures on top of my head and immersing myself as part of the work is to break cultural barriers, constructing the inseparable relationship between humans and nature (clay). I coat my surfaces with a range of references, both joyful and painful while using textures and broken sculpture parts to reference bruises from manual labor.

-- Michael Dika

Bio

Michael Dika is a ceramic artist and an educator originally from Accra- Ghana living in Newark, Delaware. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Ghana majoring in Ceramics. Michael has taught several Visual Art classes, served as the Vice President of the Ceramic Student Association, the Deputy Student Academic Board Chairman and worked as a Teaching Assistant at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi. He is currently an MFA Student at the University of Delaware, Newark. He is A recipient of the A. Gray Magness Award and an Instructor for Core Ceramics ART 925 with two international published articles.

-- Michael Dika