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American Decorative Arts
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Maker: Joyce J. Scott, American, born 1948

None Are Free Until All Are Free

2006

Hand-stitched glass and plastic beads

14 × 9 × 2 in. (35.56 × 22.86 × 5.08 cm)
Janet and Simeon Braguin Fund
2008.70.1
Joyce J. Scott draws upon Native American beadwork techniques, Yorùbá artistic traditions, current events, and folklore to create a body of work that addresses issues of gender and the Black experience in America. Her confrontational and assertive jewelry and sculptures undermine the stereotype of beadwork as a docile, feminine handcraft. These explorations into the political agency of craft contributed to her being named a fellow of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in 2016. At the center of this necklace from 2006 is a partially naked figure chained at the foot and neck. The figure is accompanied by stylized flowers, overscale body parts, and letters forming the phrase “None Are Free until All Are Free.” Do the godlike head and arm convey freedom, per the words woven through the necklace, or do they depict a captor attempting to restrain the figure? Scott’s composition is deliberately ambivalent, echoing the often-contradictory legacy of slavery in the United States.
Geography: 
Made in Baltimore, Maryland
Status: 
Not on view
Culture: 
American
Period: 
21st century
Classification: 
Jewelry
Provenance: 

Mobilia Gallery, Cambridge, Mass., 2006–08; by purchase to Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., 2008

Bibliography: 

John Stuart Gordon, “Time in a Bottle,” Antiques 185, no. 5 (September/October 2018): 95, ill.

“Acquisitions 2009,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2009): 132.

John Stuart Gordon, American Glass: The Collections at Yale (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2018), 294–95, no. 154.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.