Sculptor Fern Cunningham to Teach Spring Class

PMC’s Visual Arts Department enthusiastically welcomes back to campus this spring noted artist Fern Cunningham, who will teach a sculpture class. Cunningham’s powerful works are noted for their emphasis on joy and sorrow, struggle and triumph, image and personality. They aim to capture the commonalities shared between African Americans of the past and those of the present, as well as to support black Americans in their struggles.

A popular Hess Gallery exhibit in the spring of 2000 featured Cunningham’s art, and on March 29, the artist presented a Anne P. Nicholson ’40 Series lecture entitled "Step on Board: The Emergence of African American Sculpture." The title was taken from a large bronze statue of Harriet Tubman, which depicts her leading runaway slaves to freedom. The work was installed last year in Boston’s South End and is the first statue honoring a black woman on city property.

Examples of the similarities between present and past at the March 2000 Hess Gallery exhibit were Her Son with Dreadlocks and Masai Warrior, in which Cunningham depicts the similarity of a young man’s style and attitude across the barriers of time. "It is my desire to communicate clearly through my work and to reflect the commonalities shared by my ancestors and myself, my children, family, and community," explained Cunningham. "I have a strong determination to teach through my sculpture and to uplift Black Americans as we struggle to maintain a positive identity in an often hostile environment."

Fern Cunningham earned a BFA from Boston University and currently teaches at the Park School in Brookline, Mass.