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Artist Adeye Jean-Baptiste explores liberation, belonging at Juneteenth Glass After Dark event

Artist Adeye Jean-Baptiste explores the idea of aliens in her work, which will be featured at a special Juneteenth Glass After Dark event at the Perry Glass Studio.
Photo courtesy of the Chrysler Museum of Art
Artist Adeye Jean-Baptiste explores the idea of aliens in her work, which will be featured at a special Juneteenth Glass After Dark event at the Perry Glass Studio.

The Perry Glass Studio’s Glass After Dark event on June 20 will explore themes that align with the Juneteenth holiday.

New York-based glass artist Adeye Jean-Baptiste will host a special Glass After Dark eventat the Chrysler Museum’s Perry Glass Studio for Juneteenth.

They spoke with Kate Nowak for WHRO before hosting the event.

This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Kate Nowak: Thanks so much for talking with me today Adeye. The Glass After Dark Juneteenth celebration features your glass blowing art to celebrate the holiday. What are some of the themes that we can expect to see in your work?

Adeye Jean-Baptiste: Some of the themes that I talk about in my work are movement, vehicular movement, specifically to spaces and places one is not native to. And then also the concept or idea around aliens or star people, which oftentimes I use as a metaphor to talk about people who are non-native to those spaces and places. My parents are immigrants to the U.S, and those aliens oftentimes represent their lived experience being first gen.

Kate Nowak: As far as the holiday Juneteenth, as a day of independence, it holds a mixture of celebration and somberness, and a lot of tension in that. What about this holiday do you want to emphasize to the individuals who are coming to your event?

Adeye Jean-Baptiste: Well, I think that oftentimes liberation can be perceived as radical and you know, being free, both mentally and physically, is quite a big deal. Hopefully people come and leave the performance feeling, at least a little bit, a sense of liberation, kind of this sense of freeness coming from a place of self-liberation, most importantly.

We’re having a punk band play and I don’t know what’s more metal or liberating than some really good heavy punk music. And so also this idea of collaboration, community, something that plays a huge role—and holidays, you know, when I celebrated Juneteenth—is that family and community care. Making sure also that people feel the love in the room of the team at the Chrysler. They’re one giant family, and I’m just a guest or a transit visitor in that space and already feel the love, and I haven’t even gotten there yet. So with that sense of liberation, but also that sense of community.

Kate Nowak: Glassblowing is an interesting medium for exploring art and exploring these themes. How do you think that glassblowing specifically allows you to explore some of these ideas? And how do you think that medium resonates with people?

Adeye Jean-Baptiste: That’s a good question. I think it’s kind of layered in the sense that like, what specifically in the medium kind of connects to those themes. To answer that question, I would say this idea of community specifically, like you can make quite a few things by yourself in glassmaking. But one of the challenges of being sculptors, you really do need a team of people to rely on and collaborate with to create the pieces and the work that you want to make. I think that, initially when I started working with glass when I was 14, that’s what really drew me to the medium. And later when I started thinking about the concepts and ideas that I wanted to explore, that really kind of blended nicely with this idea of community within the team that I needed to create these works.

I always like to say that it takes a village to raise a baby, and it takes a community to make an alien baby. So I’d say that’s for sure that community, that collaboration is what draws me. And I’d say, initially, like kind of what lends itself to the themes that I’m trying to explore.

Additionally, I’d say this idea that glass is a very fluid medium, it’s neither really a solid or a liquid, or it really depends on the temperature. This idea of fluidity, as well as kind of existing in this weird transient space, my aliens sometimes feel that way.

I’m not necessarily making aliens that are the first to land, but more so the second generation trying to figure out what aspects of human culture they accept. What aspects do they reject?

And similarly, with glass, filling in this kind of space that’s not necessarily a solid, it’s not necessarily a liquid, kind of mirrors my own lived experience being of not necessarily being from Africa or the Caribbean, but not necessarily fully feeling like an American in the traditional senses, even though I was raised within American culture.

Glass After Dark featuring Adeye Jean-Baptiste is June 20, 2024 8-10 p.m. Tickets are $10 for Chrysler Museum members and $20 for non-members.

Guests without tickets may wait in the standby line and purchase tickets for admission at 8:15 p.m. 

Tickets increase $10 at the door. Registration recommended.

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