Subsistence by Courtney Leonard

Subsistence by Courtney Leonard


Ceramic, glaze.

“As a person who comes from a coastal community, we were always blessed to go to our shores, dig our feet in the sand, place our hands in the water and fill our baskets with enough to eat.

However, coastal aquaculture harvesting in Long Island, New York is threatened by an increase of nitrogen run-offs, creating large algae blooms.

With Subsistence, the ceramic basket looks like it could harvest shellfish but it is actually too fragile if it were ever put to the task.

The environment has also proven more fragile than it looks. Just as shellfish populations are declining, so have cultural links that have sustained us for generations.

Can a culture sustain itself when it no longer has access to the environment that creates it?”

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About Courtney Leonard: 

Courtney M. Leonard (Shinnecock) is an artist and filmmaker, who has contributed to the Offshore Art movement. Leonard's current work embodies the multiple definitions of “breach”, an exploration and documentation of historical ties to water, whale and material sustainability. 

In collaboration with national and international museums, U.S. embassies, cultural institutions, and indigenous communities in the U.S., Canada, and New Zealand, Leonard's practice investigates narratives of cultural viability as a reflection of environmental record. 

Leonard holds an MFA in ceramics from the Rhode Island School of Design and a BFA from the College of Ceramics at Alfred University, with additional degrees from The Sheridan Center For Teaching and Learning at Brown University, and the Institute of American Indian Arts, with a concentration in Museum Studies and 3D Design.