Christopher Smith, Sankofa Kore

Credit Line
Gift of the artist and Stephen Robin, 2015
57"h x 12"w x 20"d

This compelling, close to life-size sculpture of a young black woman is inspired in part by the male kouros figures of ancient Greek sculpture. Christopher Smith was drawn to the potential movement in the ancient figures whose feet were positioned in a walking pose, though both flat on the ground and with arms symmetrically placed at their sides. Traditionally, a woman kore (maiden) was clothed and stood with her feet together, arms at her sides in the manner of a column.

In titling this work, Sankofa Kore, Smith references the Adinkra symbol of the Akan people of Ghana. The literal translation of “sankofa” means “return and get it.” It’s associated proverbial phrase is interpreted as taking from the past what is good and bringing it into the present. Sankofa Kore is a powerful sculpture whose presence connects with a different time.  

The sculpture was a collaboration of sorts between fine art model, Kelicia Pitts, and artist, Christopher Smith. After meeting at Fleisher Art Memorial, Smith booked Kelicia to model for a life drawing group held at his studio. When she saw his work, she asked if he would do a sculpture of her if she were to pose for free and in turn receive a plaster cast.

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