Mali – 1994-5 Senior Research Fellowship
Mali – 2009 Fulbright Specialist
Zimbabwe – 2011 Fulbright Specialist
Japan – 2020 Fulbright Specialist

Purchase instructions: email info@fulbright.org with artist name & details of art piece

Artist Statement

Bridging diverse cultures, my work celebrates the unique beauty and genius of each as well as what we have in common. I make sculptures and installations that also include photography and video. Working in three dimensions as well as on paper; on the floor, on walls, and suspended from the ceiling; indoors and out, my life experiences play an integral part in the development of my work. Annual visits to Mali, for more than two decades, provide inspiration.

Migration is a continuing theme. I was born in the US but grew up with intriguing stories of voyage and steerage and another country where my grandparents were born. My findings helped me anchor myself in history connected to the times and places of my grandparents. And my deep immersion in Mali made it necessary to me to understand my own history in order to go deeply into another culture. From my trips to Mali and to the US/Mexican border, I am familiar with the perspective of migration in countries of departure like Mexico or Mali.

I engage in long-term collaborations. We are all, at the same time, researcher and object of research. The exchange of perspectives and contexts can highlight global similarities and specific cultural differences as contributors think together, contributing beliefs and strategies from individual experiences.

The evolution of my art traces my enduring exploration of sculptural form, my ongoing relationship with African culture, and my lifelong involvement in social activism.

Fences & Neighbors, 2016, Installation with video, photographs, sound, Barbed Wire

This video is a part of Goldner’s mixed media installation, of the same name, inspired by her research trip to Arizona in 2014.

This video presents seven recent immigrants to the United States who speak individually and movingly about why they came to the U.S. and what they found when they arrived. The “storytellers” are from Mexico, Mali, Columbia, Japan, Morocco, Ecuador and Brazil.  Some are in the US legally, some illegally.  Offering a human view of migration, their stories are told with insight, humor, self-awareness and analysis of their situation.

Wealth in Africa: Clay Mine, 2014, video

This video shows clay mine in Kalabougou, a village across the Niger River from Segou, Mali.

The potters in Kalabougou work on a weekly fabrication cycle that culminates with the Monday market across the river in Segou. On Tuesday and Wednesday, the clay mine is full of women and their daughters extracting the clay from the earth. Men are not allowed in the mine. The clay is taken back to the village, which is several hundred yards away, on donkey carts often driven by the potters’ sons. The women say that the location of the village is due to the superior quality of the clay deposit found in this spot.

Wealth in Africa: Making Pots, 2014, video

Women work singly or in groups in the entryway of their compounds, working side by side. There are many steps between the raw clay and the finished pot. To begin a pot, by a slab of clay is formed over a mold. The potter taps the clay down the mold, making uniform walls of the desired thickness. When finished, the bottom of the pot will be removed from the mold. When it has dried to the correct hardness, coils will be added to form the upper portion of the pot and the lip.

Wealth in Africa: Firing, 2013, video

When the women and girls have brought all the pots to the firing place, they begin to construct the mound by placing a layer of branches on the ground. When a mound is completed and the ground around has been swept clean of residual combustible material, a senior potter lights the fire. A handful of grass is lit and the woman runs around the circumference of the mound touching the burning torch to the dried grass. During the firing, each woman tends her own pots within the mound. Women throw more grass on the mound to keep the fire around her pots burning longer. The firing takes about thirty to forty minutes.

Wealth in Africa: Forge, 2014, video

This video shows the work of two blacksmiths in Kalabougou making an axe.  It shows how they work together to tend the fire and work the iron. It shows their skill and collaboration.