Puppetry is an art form that is familiar to most Americans.
Live professional performances can be seen in theaters, playhouses,
auditoriums, public parks, or even on the street; presentations can also be
viewed on television or film. It is not unusual for Americans to be able to
identify several puppets by name, including a favorite character. Fewer people,
however, can identify a single African-American puppeteer. Part of this has to
do with the nature of puppetry. Unless the puppeteer performs along with the
puppet, most people will focus more on the puppet than on the person operating
it. Additionally, of all the puppeteers performing in this country, very few
are African-American and there hadn’t been systematic documentation of their
work prior to the organization of this Center exhibition in 1994.
African and African-American Puppetry, organized by the Center for Puppetry Arts, was a landmark exhibition. The works of African-American puppeteers from across the United States are included here with African sculptures. Although the artists represented shared a racial heritage, approaches to their craft are/were based on individual choices.
Curated By: Dr. Schroeder Cherry