Rashida Ua Bakari Ferdinand
Rashida Ua Bakari Ferdinand lives and works as a visual artist in New Orleans. “My spirit vessels are metaphorical representations of bodies as objects of physical, as well as spiritual containment. The emerging and introspective faces on the vessels evoke serenity and bring spiritual peace to my work.”
Rashida Ua Bakari Ferdinand lived with art throughout her life, inspired by her father’s paintings, artist mentors in her family and community, and her own physical and conceptual explorations as a child. During junior high school, Ferdinand studied with Clifton Webb in the Talented in the Arts Program of New Orleans Public Schools, and continued her artistic studies as a college undergraduate at Xavier University with John Scott.
A desire to further her educational experience led Ferdinand to study at Howard University in Washington DC, where she began her work with clay under the tutelage of Winnie Owens-Hart, from whom she learned an Ipetumodu Nigerian coiling technique. With clay as her foundation, Ferdinand began to create anthropomorphic ceramic vessel forms as representations of spaces for spiritual containment. During the summer of 2005, she apprenticed with Yvonne Tucker in Tallahassee Florida and studied Tucker’s conceptual spirit vessel forms, as they were an inspiration to Ferdinand’s artistic development. She learned the craft of traditional Italian mosaic with Felice Nitollo at Penland Glass School in Seattle, Washington later that year.
During 2006, Ferdinand studied with Syd Carpenter at Haystack School of Crafts in Deer Isle Maine and learned terra sigillata and handbuilding techniques. During her graduate studies at Syracuse University, Ferdinand worked with David MacDonald and was inspired by Carrie Mae Weems to continue her explorations of installation through sculpted forms of trees and roots as representative spaces of renewal. Her works are reflections of her thoughts on the cyclic continuity of life and recognition of the legacies she follows. Rashida lives and works as a visual artist in New Orleans.