Folklore traditions are an essential part of all cultures. Scholars have long emphasized that folklore is primarily an oral tradition, but it often involves multiple modes of communication, including art objects. In Contemporary Folklore, four regional artists delved into both collective and personal narratives to create sculptures that retell new histories. Ann Chahbandour investigates interpersonal relationships through the creation of bronze and ceramic tableaux sculptures whose subjects are influenced by mythology, religion and the decorative arts.

Ryan Kelly works with papier-mâché and clay to create large props based on historical and mythological heroes which are then used in performances. Lisa Naples’ figurative ceramic sculpture uses personal history and iconography to explore the nature of growth and change. Kukuli Velarde mimics pre-Columbian vessel forms from her native Peru to create figures that tell stories about her life and her culture. Folklore, as a discipline, links nostalgia for the past with an apprehension about modern society. The artists in this exhibition explored similar feelings of nostalgia to tell their personal stories.