Tiona Nekkia McClodden’s article “The Cloth [Untitled Belkis Ayon Project]” will look to early sketches and collagraph prints of the late Cuban artist and printmaker Belkis Ayón, namely her figurations of the Veil of Veronica, the Christian relic also known as the Vernicle or the Sudarium (Latin for “sweat cloth”) that the artist produced for the Abakuá. McClodden will examine the ubiquity of the Vernicle in paintings, sculptures, churches, and museums across the diaspora, as well as the many shapes the object takes in Ayón’s prints—as skin, as cloth, as something used to veil or obscure—to tease out the specific syncretic relations between Catholic iconography and the African religious sect. McClodden will compare moments of Ayón’s biography with Princess Sikan, the central, and only, female character in Abakuá mythology, so as to write about the impact this kind of figuration has on the Black diaspora. 

Tiona Nekkia McClodden is a visual artist, filmmaker, curator, and writer whose work explores and critiques issues at the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and social commentary. Her interdisciplinary approach traverses documentary film, experimental video, sculpture, and sound installation. Her work has been exhibited at institutions including the ICA, Philadelphia; MoMA; the Whitney Museum of American Art; Haus der Kulturen der Welt; and MOCA, Los Angeles. The recipient of several awards, McClodden most recently she won a Bucksbaum Award for her work in the 2019 Whitney Biennial. She teaches as Arts Fellow at Princeton University and is the founder and owner of Conceptual Fade, a micro-gallery and library space in Philadelphia centering Black thought and artistic production.