Robell Awake

Robell Awake

About The Artist

Robell Awake • Atlanta, GA

My work centers the histories and aesthetics of Black craft traditions throughout the Black diaspora, and combats the erasures and dominant narratives within furniture making. In my current body of work, I take inspiration from my research into the "mule eared" ladderback chairs pioneered by enslaved furniture maker Richard Poynor and the Jimma chairs of Ethiopia. By combining these forms, I hope to offer a new furniture aesthetic that is rooted in Black craft traditions and histories.


Artist website

Q&A with the Artist

Tell us how your work is made.

I use preindustrial methods and techniques to make my chairs. I split out most of my material by hand and shape all of my parts using hand tools.

What makes you passionate about the medium you work with?

Wood is such a sensitive yet resilient material. It responds to its environment and moves with the seasons. I love having to work with and accommodate the reality of its never ending movement when making furniture.

What is something unique about you or your practice?

In a field obsessed with high tolerances and exactitude, my practice is rooted in the Black aesthetic traditions of improvisation and asymmetry.