Sana Musasama is a clay artist, humanitarian, globetrotter and native New Yorker educated in the public school system and world travel. She received her BA from City College of New York in 1973 and her MFA from Alfred University, New York in 1988. In 2018, she was awarded the 2018 Outstanding Achievement Award from the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) for her years of teaching and her humanitarian work with victims of sex trafficking in Cambodia.
Kaabo Clay Collective, a social and mutual aid network for Black ceramicists, is fundraising on behalf of Sana Musasma's current project, a series of topsy turvy dolls. We believe in the cultural significance of this work and hope that the art community will come together to help realize Musasma's vision:
"These historical dolls were created during the antebellum period of the United States. House slaves witnessed their children joyfully playing with their master’s children’s dolls and created a doll with two faces–white and black. Only one face can be seen at a time, the other is camouflaged by a skirt. The mothers instructed their children that if the master was present, to play with the white part, and if the master wasn’t present, to flip to the black part. Learning about this impressed me. The doll represented resistance, rebellion, perseverance, and love. My intention with the Topsy Turvy Doll Series is not to pair white-and-black, but to pair different women whose historical contexts link them. For example, Elizabeth Catlett, who burned her American passport and moved to Mexico, would be paired with Edmonia Lewis, who moved to Europe after being accused of murder. Both refused to remain in a racist United States. The dolls will be wall-mounted in a manner that allows them to rotate, displaying both views. I want the audience of the dolls to stop, think, and reflect as I retell our collective stories.
With these funds, I will be able to complete this series of seventy different women represented by thirty-five dolls, which I’ve worked on for eight years. The dolls have gone beyond my skills and I sought an engineer to help me figure out the technology to make each doll rotate. The person I found has the expertise to make the dolls spin in a rhythmic way, but I don’t understand the language of his craft (e.g., motors, microprocessors, synchronization) nor his process, so I can’t duplicate his work myself. This is an extremely costly procedure, but these funds would allow me to see a dream deferred–all the Topsy Turvy dolls displayed in a gallery, spinning, dancing, and flipping from one monumental woman to another."