Through the influence of hip-hop, history, and science fiction, the artist’s artwork explores themes in Afrofuturism, a projected vision of an imagined future which critiques the historical and cultural events of the African Diaspora and the distinct black experience of the Middle Passage. While also delving into deeper social issues which broaden the conversation between all of humanity.
From these ideas, his art practice is based on research and references the visual traditions from the American South, the Caribbean, and the African continent. Hayes works in clay as a historical and creative base material to inform memories of the past. Ceramics becomes a bridge to conceptually integrate disparate objects and or images for the purpose of creating new understandings and connections with the material, history, and social-political issues. These ceramic objects are vessels, each making symbolic allusions to the black body.
Donté K. Hayes graduated summa cum laude from Kennesaw State University at Kennesaw, Georgia with a BFA in Ceramics and Printmaking with an Art History minor. Hayes received his MA and MFA with honors from the University of Iowa and is the 2017 recipient of the University of Iowa Arts Fellowship. Recent art exhibitions include group shows at the Museum of Science + Industry in Chicago, Illinois, the Trout Museum of Art in Appleton, Wisconsin, and the 2021 ATL Biennial at the Atlanta Contemporary in Georgia. Donté’s artwork has been presented at the 1-54 art fair in London, England, and at Design Miami in Florida. His work is included in the permanent collections of the Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C., The Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, South Carolina, and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, in Texas. Hayes is a 2019 Ceramics Monthly Magazine Emerging Artists and Artaxis Fellow. Donté is the 2019 winner of the 1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art from the Gibbes Museum of Art. Donté K. Hayes is represented by Mindy Solomon Gallery in Miami, Florida.