Skip to content
"Sana Musasama: Returning to Ourselves" exhibition at Everson Museum of Art

Courtesy of the Everson Museum of Art. Photo by Jamie Young.

Sana Musasama is a ceramic artist based in Queens, New York. Musasama received her BA from City College of New York in 1973 and her MFA from Alfred University in 1988. She began traveling in the 1970s as a way to recover her own identity and cultural place. Clay was the geographical catalyst that brought her first to West Africa, where she studied pottery with the Mende People in Sierra Leone (1974-75). She later ventured to Japan, China, South America, and Cambodia. She has expanded her interests to tribal adornment practices in various Indigenous cultures. She is challenged by the concerns surrounding the safety of women, specifically the rituals involving rites of passage, female chastity and the “purification” of the female body.

Musasama, along with eight girls, formed The Apron Project in Cambodia—a sustainable entrepreneurial project for girls and young women reintegrated back into society after being forced into the commercial sex industry. The Apron Project creates beautiful, one-of-a-kind aprons that are sold on her Etsy store. Musasama began volunteering in Cambodia in 2007, and for 16 years, she self-funded these trips. More information on The Apron Project can be found at

Musasama’s travels have transformed her and her approach to clay. Realizing that clay is universal, she believes that there is no dichotomy between her life and her work. Her trekking has taught her valuable lessons in observation, and her mission speaks of a global citizen who walks through the artwork, heart first. Musasama’s work is informed by history, women’s studies, culture, and her travel journal.

Throughout her career, she has drawn inspiration from travel and research into global cultures. Returning to Ourselves centers around a series of dolls, based on African-American topsy turvy dolls. Musasama uses this formal structure to juxtapose figures drawn from the global Black diaspora. Returning to Ourselves is rounded out by a series of ceramic houses she began early in her career and returned to during the pandemic.

About the Artist

Sana Musasama is a ceramic artist whose work is informed by her global travels, and interests in women’s studies, and indigenous artistic practices. Musasama began traveling as a way to recover identity and cultural place. Clay was the geographical catalyst that first brought her to West Africa where she studied pottery with the Mende people in Sierra Leone (1974–75). Later venturing to Japan, China, Cambodia, and South America, she continued her quest, expanding her interests to tribal adornment practices. She is challenged by issues concerning women’s safety, specifically rituals involving rites of passage and female chastity. Musasama’s work can be found in the collections of the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, and the Museum of Art and Design, among others.

The Everson is supported by the Dorothy and Marshall M. Reisman Foundation; the General Operating Support program, a regrant program of the County of Onondaga with the support of County Executive, J. Ryan McMahon II, and the Onondaga County Legislature, administered by CNY Arts; and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.

Back To Top