17 Mar 2023 - 13 May 2023
Claire Oliver Gallery
New York, NY
Claire Oliver Gallery is pleased to announce Unearthing Unicorns, the debut solo exhibition by artist Simone Elizabeth Saunders.
Simone Elizabeth Saunders (BFA '20, Fibre) is debuting her first gallery solo exhibition.
Unearthing Unicorns showcases eight large-scale textile artworks that explore the iconography of the famed high Renaissance era Unicorn Tapestries and Art Nouveau advertising through a contemporary Black feminist lens. The artist’s sweeping art historical reframing is rendered in vibrant polychrome hand-tufted textiles that both reference the prized woven tapestries of the Renaissance as well as the more contemporary feminist craft movement of the later 20th century.
“Unearthing Unicorns references both literal and figurative iterations of the historical fable,” states Saunders. “I reimagine stories played out in our history, such as the famous and treasured Hunt of the Unicorn tapestries, to show Black women portrayed as being highly valued and respected. Through my work, I want to empower and encourage Black women to never shrink ourselves and instead lean into being the fierce, graceful, and beautiful being that we are – just like the Unicorn. Unearthing Unicorns also allows me to scrutinize the art historical canon and pull fables that are rooted in colonialism. My goal with this exhibition is to remix these allegories and put Black womanhood as the center of a story where she is not present, and define that character as one that embodies joy, strength and resilience.”