Cultural Dinnerware: Sami & Jenny

  • Cultural Dinnerware: Sami & Jenny
    Wheel-thrown & altered stoneware clay, slips & glazes, gold luster //  2011
  • This was a final project for "Intro to Ceramics: Wheel-Thrown Form;" the task was to make a place setting for anyone.

    This set of "cultural dinnerware" focuses on the beauties and struggles within two people from two very different ethnic backgrounds, making one place setting for two:
    Sami: Bangladeshi, Muslim
    Jenny: Hainanese, Irish, Puerto Rican

    Each dinner piece explores the identity it is assigned to, then the halves are joined to tell the whole story of the couple.  Culture and family has been a big part of my life, which is why I decided to choose my boyfriend, Sami, and myself as the two people completing one place setting.  This was an exploration in the religious, ceramic, and personal culture of another loved one, as well as a re-discovery of my own blend of ethnicities.
  • "China Bowl, Sari Bowl" (detail: Sami)

    This half of the bowl belongs to "Sami," as it references the paisley design that is seen on many Sari cloths.  This pattern always stuck in my mind when visiting Sami's family; rich colors and bold patterns filled his mother's closet.  Gold luster is also a popular ceramic technique in early Islamic culture. 
  • "China Bowl, Sari Bowl" (detail: Sami)

    The side of the the Sari Bowl has patterns borrowed from "kalshi jars," huge community water jars made in the villages in Bangladesh.

  • "Chirishican, Assalamualaikum" 

    (left: Jenny) - My sister made up a name for our mixed ethnicity, she called it "chi-rish-ican."  Jenny's half of the plate references Asian characters and imagery on fine China porcelain, rustic celtic knots, and indigenous hispanic patterns.

    (right: Sami) - Sami's half of the plate is more traditional, referencing the arabic language and words of the Qu'ran.  The phrase "assalamualaikum" came up so many times whenever I was around sami: in his neighborhood, in his home, and in all of the homes of his aunties and uncles.  It's a simple greeting meaning "may peace be upon you."
  • All of the dinner pieces have a key, fitting itself into it's matching half.
  •  "Racist Cups: Sami & Jenny" (left: Sami, right: Jenny)
    Wheel-thrown & altered stoneware clay, hand-drawn fired decals

    These two halves comment on racism and stereotypes within both people's lives.
  •  "Jia Bui Boh? Thumi Kee Kyay Cho"
    (left: Sami, right: Jenny)

    This bowl is the only piece in the set that is not cut in half, because it is used for rice, the food that the two cultures share most in common.  
    Both word bubbles translate to "have you eaten yet?"  Sami's side is in Bengali and Jenny's side is in Hainanese.