Sula Bermúdez-Silverman
Rooted in personal familial ties, this body of Sula Bermudéz-Silverman’s work explores the stratified social experience and power struggle of her Afro-Puerto Rican ancestors who worked on sugar plantations, using sugar and doll houses as a symbol of status. The meaning of this symbol has evolved in conjunction with society’s ever-changing economic standing. Sugar in the 18th century was once regarded as something exclusive to the wealthy and a sign of privilege. As production and access to sugar has grown, it has become less a symbol of wealth, but still carries a connection to slavery and classist exploitation.
The exhibition Sula Bermudéz-Silverman: Neither Fish, Flesh, nor Fowl​ is currently installed at the California African American Museum. Video by HRDWRKER courtesy the California African American Museum 
Neither Fish, Flesh, nor Fowl, 2020
isomalt sugar, glass, found objects, steel light boxes, acetate sheets, insects, phylliu bioculatum, chewing gum. Each house is 26” x 19” x 27”
Courtesy of the artist and California African American Museum​​​​​​​

The title Neither Fish, Flesh, nor Fowl​ is an idiom that originated from medieval societies in reference to classifications, and its meaning is someone or something that does not fit into any specific category, or is unidentifiable. Bermudez-Silverman uses the doll house that was built for her as a child as a blueprint for the sugar houses she creates in this series. The houses are created from heated sugar poured into a mold to form the “sugar glass”. Along with the development of the sugar glass, Bermudez-Silverman reuses objects into her art and does so by embedding personal items she has collected into the sugar house mold, binding it to the structure to give it a distinct look with personal significance.
Find more work by Sula Bermudéz-Silverman here:
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