Therman Statom’s contributions to the field of contemporary art have earned him the Alain Locke International Art Award for 2009, awarded by the Friends of African and African American Art, a Detroit Institute of Arts
auxiliary. Prior to the ceremony at the museum, the innovative glass artist will discuss his work and career over the past 30 years in a lecture entitled “Explorations in Transparency.” The event will take place at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 8 and is free with museum admission.
A major figure in the Studio Glass movement, Statom specializes in working with sheet glass to create sculptures and room-size installation art. In his lecture at the DIA, he will speak about his constructions of familiar objects associated with domesticity, which can evoke both danger and beauty. The Omaha, Nebraska resident’s art can be found in major public and private collections including the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum, the Los Angeles Community Museum of Art, the DIA, and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Palais du Louvre in Paris.
This year’s local awardees are John Bolden, executive vice chancellor, Wayne County Community College District; Michael Kan, DIA curator emeritus, African, Oceanic, and New World Cultures; and Sherry Washington, proprietor of the Sherry Washington Gallery.
The Alain Locke Award is given annually to artists, scholars, and other individuals who have contributed to the advancement of African American art and culture. It was established by The Friends of African and African American Art in 1992. Recipients of the award must have exhibited exemplary courage, commitment, and leadership in promoting the legacy of Dr. Alain Locke.
Alain Locke (1886-1954), a distinguished African American intellectual of his generation, was the leading promoter and interpreter of the artistic and cultural contributions of African Americans to American life. The professor of philosophy at Howard University, Washington, D.C. was especially interested in the visual arts, having observed the influence of sub-Saharan African art on the European modernists. Dr. Locke guided African American artists in their exploration of modernism, an approach that yielded many of the notable contributions by African American artists to 20th- and 21st-century art.