Alabama artist Larry Allen is an incredibly talented potter, and some of his work is going to appear in the upcoming Marvel movie Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Read on to learn more about this amazing artist.
What is Wakanda?
For those of you who don’t know, Wakanda is a fictional African country that first appeared in the Marvel superhero movie Black Panther. The movie, released in 2018, starred the late Chadwick Boseman and was the first superhero film to ever be nominated for ‘best picture’ at the Academy Awards. The popularity of Black Panther led to a trend among athletes and celebrities around the world giving “Wakanda Forever” salutes at important moments.
Becoming a ‘Wakandan’ Artist
Larry Allen typically sells most of his ceramics either online or at the various different art festivals, he attends around the country. Allen also has some of his work displayed in an Atlanta art gallery. It was at this gallery that a man named Ken Lashley, a writer known for his work on The Black Panther comic series, first noticed Allen’s ceramics. Lashley wound up purchasing some of Allen’s pieces and they are now slated to appear as props in the upcoming Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Allen lives in Leeds, AL, and is affiliated with Earthborn Pottery. He has been a ceramicist since the mid-70s having learned his craft during his time at Berea College in Kentucky where he worked as an apprentice potter.
Allen primarily creates vessels, or in other words vases and bowls. Almost all of his work is done on a pottery wheel and Allen draws heavily from African and Native American themes. Allen also regularly employs a technique called sgraffito. Sgraffito is when a potter paints a layer of different colored clay slip over an existing ceramic piece and then carves away intricate patterns through to the first layer of clay.
‘Unity’, or the idea of people coming together is a central motif in many of Allen’s pieces. Allen really began exploring the idea of unity, and how messy it can be, after 9/11.
“The aftermath of 9/11 put me in this direction because I saw it as a unifying moment and then it really became messy. I wanted to incorperate that feeling into my work. So I started a project devoted to those themes, and then everything else kind of spun off of it.”-Larry Allen
Other notable career moments
Along with having work slated to appear in a Marvel movie, Allen has had a number of other notable moments in his career. One of Allen’s vases was presented on behalf of the Alabama State Council of the Arts as a gift to famed author Harper Lee back in 2007. Another one of Allen’s pieces was given as a gift to the first female president of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf that same year.
Did you know that some of Wakanda’s art came from Alabama? Give us a blast @BamaBuzz!