Zipporah Camille Thompson

Artadia Awardee

“Zipporah Camille Thompson explores concepts of identity, alchemy, and our relationship to the land—melding both her textile and assemblage practices, working the familiar into new territory.” – Juror Faron Manuel, Independent Curator and Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellowships Program Coordinator, High Museum of Art

“Zipporah Camille Thompson and Yanique Norman each have exciting and conceptually strong bodies of work that are ripe for even further exploration and development at this stage in their respective careers.” – Juror Lauren Tate Baeza, Fred and Rita Richman Curator of African Art, High Museum of Art

Zipporah Camille Thompson (she.her.hers) is a ceramicist, weaver, sculptor, and activist residing upon dispossessed land of the Muskogee in Atlanta, GA. With deep Carolina roots, Thompson explores alchemical transformations through clay + textiles, uplifting marginalized bodies and eliciting social change through her work. Her craft-based practice acknowledges the displacement and sustained oppression of BIPOC folx. Sculpted shapeshifters and landscapes investigate hybridity – taking cues from mythology, the otherworldly, and “make-do” culture, weaving together something from nothing.

Zipporah Camille Thompson earned her MFA from the University of Georgia and her BFA from the University of North Carolina Charlotte. Her exploratory, unconventional work calls upon craft traditions and with intercultural impact has been featured in digital and physical spaces, both nationally and internationally.

Thompson has accomplished residencies at ACRE Projects, Ox-Bow School of Art, Mass MOCA, Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts, and POCOAPOCO, MX, amongst others. She is a recipient of a variety of accolades, including most recently, a 2021 MOCA GA Working Artist Project Fellowship recipient and a 2020 Artadia Atlanta Awardee. Zipporah Camille Thompson is represented by Whitespace Gallery (Atlanta, GA). She is a history addict, roller-skater, and lover of unicorns, zombies, the moon, tarot, and all things fantasy.

“Approaching craft traditions with an improvisational, imaginative wild and speculative futuristic approach, the work explores the body, otherness, and identity via hybrid landscapes. Composite landscapes combine highly tactile disparate materials such as wild woven textiles, fired clay, felted wool, paper pulp, handspun cord, plastic, and foraged objects. Tension and force unite discordant ephemera into handwoven cloth representing intimate processes of metamorphosis.

Sculpted shapeshifters are prevalent in the work: they symbolize bodies in crisis – namely Black, Brown, womxn, queer, and cosmic bodies, & bodies of land and water. These shapeshifters fuse hard and soft, earth tones with otherworldly fluorescents, cotton and plastic, tension and laxity to further signify the intersectionality of these bodies. Singular woven, handbuilt, or wheel thrown pieces become organically cultivated into immersive experimental, multimedia installations. Labor of loom is conjoined with labor of land and field, labor of clay becomes one with labor of hearth and home. Each ritual of labor connects me to those of my black womxn ancestors. Clay + glaze and warp + weft bind alchemically, by way of processes which parallel finding oneself through the embrace of chance, chaos, fluidity, and uncertainty. Otherness harkens back to shapeshifters’ mythological roots as fantastical beings.

BIPOC relationships become rekindled to the landscape while exploring their connections to other worlds and spaces beyond our current realm – into the wildest, deepest, darkest parts of their imaginations. The work provides a sense of hope, comfort, and kinship as it speaks of their experiences, both past, present, and future. Intertwining tangible and terrestrial landscapes with intangible and extraterrestrial planes, the work embodies the multi-layered existence these places/spaces possess while mirroring expression, transformation, and evolution of identity.”