Sharif Bey

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Sharif Bey
With bead-inspired sculpture "Louie Bones: Omega"
Born1974 (age 48–49)
  • Slippery Rock University (BFA)
  • University of North Carolina (MFA)
  • Pennsylvania State University (PhD)
Known forCeramics
Bey with Nkisi-Inspired work in progress

Sharif Bey (born 1974, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.) is an African American artist, ceramicist and professor. He produces both functional pottery and ceramic and mixed- media sculpture, using a variety of forms and textures. His body of work reflects his interest in the visual heritage of Africa and Oceania, as well as contemporary African American culture. With his colorful large-scale bead sculptures, Bey explores the cultural and political significance of ornamentation and adornment.[1][2]


As a high school student, Bey completed a ceramics apprenticeship at the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild. The Manchester Craftsmen's Guild played a formative role for Bey throughout his teens, giving him a foundation of skills, extensive ceramics-world connections, and exposure to various visiting masters – including Jun Kaneko, Karen Karnes, Judy Moonelis, Paul Soldner, and Akio Takamori. Shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union, Bey studied sculpture at The Academy of Fine Arts and Design, Bratislava (Slovak Republic). Later, he earned his BFA in ceramics from Slippery Rock University, his MFA in studio art from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and PhD in art education from Pennsylvania State University.[3][4][5][2]


Bey's teaching experience includes appointments at: Winston Salem State University, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Syracuse University.[5][2] He has held artist residencies at the McColl Center for Art + Innovation, John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Pittsburgh Glass Center,[6] and Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts.

Art career[edit]

Since being featured at the Renwick Gallery Smithsonian American Art Museum in 2018, The Carnegie Museum of Art, Everson Museum of Art, Belger Arts Center and the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art in Toronto have all held solo exhibitions of Bey's Work. His ceramic, glass and mixed-media sculptures can be found in public collections including: Smithsonian American Art Museum's Renwick Gallery, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Carnegie Museum of Art, Everson Museum of Art, Dallas Museum of Art, Mint Museum, Columbus Museum of Art, Hickory Museum of Art, Gardiner Museum, John Michael Kohler Arts Center, and the United States Embassies in Indonesia, Sudan, and Uganda.[7][8][9]

His work has been exhibited at:


  1. ^ "Open Studio". Craft Council. Retrieved 23 August 2018.
  2. ^ a b c "Smithsonian American Art Museum". Retrieved 23 August 2018.
  3. ^ "Open Studio".
  4. ^ a b "Pittsburgh Glass Center". Retrieved 23 August 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Syracuse University". Retrieved 23 August 2018.
  6. ^ "Sharif Bey | Smithsonian American Art Museum". Archived from the original on 2018-08-22.
  7. ^ "Louie Bones---Omega | Smithsonian American Art Museum".
  8. ^ "CMOA Collection".
  9. ^ "Sharif Bey – U.S. Department of State".
  10. ^ "Sharif Bey: Colonial Ruptures - Gardiner Museum".
  11. ^ "Sharif Bey: Facets".
  12. ^ "Sharif Bey: Excavations".
  13. ^ "Sharif Bey: Excavations".
  14. ^ "Sharif Bey".
  15. ^ "Adorned".
  16. ^ "A Pittsburgh Anthology".
  17. ^ "Smithsonian American Art Museum". Retrieved 23 August 2018.