Nari Ward


A portrait of Nari Ward taken from a slight distance against a large flat copper artwork of his. The artwork takes up the entirety of the frame with drilled holes making a diamond in the center. He stands proudly with his hands crossed while wearing a black jacket, a brown fedora.Since the early 1990s, Nari Ward has produced works by accumulating staggering amounts of humble materials and repurposing them in consistently surprising ways. His approach evokes a variety of folk traditions and creative acts of recycling from Jamaica, where he was born, as well as the material textures of Harlem, where he has lived and worked for the past twenty-five years. He uses language, architecture, and a variety of sculptural forms to reflect on racism and power, migration and national identity, and the layers of historical memory that comprise our sense of community and belonging. 

Nari Ward was born in 1963 in St. Andrew, Jamaica. He received his BA from City University of New York, Hunter College in 1989, and an MFA from City University of New York, Brooklyn College in 1992. His work has been exhibition at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Texas; New Museum, New York; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Socrates Sculpture Park, New York; Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams, MA; Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston; and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN. Ward has received numerous honors and distinctions including the Fellowship Award, The United States Artists, Chicago (2020); Vilcek Prize in Fine Arts, Vilcek Foundation, New York (2017); the Joyce Award, The Joyce Foundation, Chicago (2015), the Rome Prize, American Academy of Rome (2012), and awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1998), the Pollock-Krasner Foundation (1996); and the National Endowment for the Arts (1994). Ward has also received commissions from the United Nations and the World Health Organization. He lives and works in New York City.


Work in the exhibition: 

Nari Ward, Breathing Flag, 2017. Nylon flag. A Pan-African flag flies against the sky. It is equally split in red, black, and green colors horizontally. An orange diamond with black dots rests in the upper left corner.

Nari Ward, Breathing Flag, 2017. Nylon flag, dimensions variable. Presented as part of Creative Time’s Pledges of Allegiance, 2017 - 2018. Courtesy the artist and Creative Time, New York. Photo by Guillaume Ziccarelli.