Howard R. Mallory is an artist who is well known in Chicago for decades for his dynamic
    pottery.  His work has been exhibited and sold in galleries and at art events throughout
    the city.  I got to know him in 1967 at the Parkway Community Center, which was a bustling
    recreational and social spot on the South Side.  It housed one of the most active,
    important repertory theaters (ETA) in Chicago at that time in a setting where robust pick
    up basketball games, art exhibitions, and creative workshops often were all going on
    simultaneously.  Down in the basement was a large, vigorous ceramic studio where I met
    Howard aiding some beginners in making hand built pots.  This uneventful meeting later
    gained greater meaning  when he was one of the five artists featured in the
    5inSearchofaBlackAesthetic” exhibition in the studio/gallery of Wadsworth and Jae
    Jarrell.  That exhibit in the WJ Studio and Gallery in May 1969, featured Howard’s pottery,
    Barbara Jones’ prints, Jeff Donaldson’s paintings, and paintings by Elliott Hunter and
    Wadsworth.  It was only fitting that the opening of that show featured the music of
    members of the AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Music), whose
    genesis in the same neighborhood (their home was also in the Parkway Community
    Center) was contemporaneous with that of AFRICOBRA.  Howard became a member of
    AFRICOBRA in 1972.

    Many years had passed between that first meeting and my most recent visit to his home,
    that's been known as Karamu Gallery.  It’s always a feast of riches to visit a friend like him
    who is never lacking for genuine conversation about his work, his family, the times we
    live in, what lies beyond the horizon, and whatever thoughts drift through the
    atmosphere.  About his age, he says he always gives it as the next plateau, which is 80.  
    That makes him 78.  He no longer produces pottery, so seeing his newest work at this
    time was eagerly anticipated.   I followed my friend out the back door, watching him
    negotiate his familiar path around furniture, down the steps, along the concrete walkway
    that was like braille, and toward his Shrine.  He pointed out the collard greens in his
    garden, indicating that he produced enough to give some to neighbors on the block. I
    gazed nostalgically at the one time, much modified garage,  turned studio, now Shrine,
    recalling a time when it was bustling with Howard’s pottery activities.  Before we went
    inside he led me out into the alley to show me the walls of the wooden building which
    were decked out with a  number of his intriguing celebratory creations that paid homage
    to Black historical figures.  Here was quintessential mimesis, the indigenous “mimesis at
    midpoint” that some AFRICOBRA artists struggled with over the years, and that has
    always been a cornerstone of traditional African art and Original art of indigenous
    cultures around the World.

    As we retreated from the hot sun into the cool Shrine, I asked Howard, though I felt the
    answer, how he was able to deal with the possibility of theft or vandalism of such
    exposed treasures. “Well,” he sighed “I haven’t had any problems."  And we left it like
    that.  Obviously, Howard is well respected by his neighbors, and the work is theirs to
    share. So, what if an appendage disappeared from one of his pieces?  He simply
    replaced it with something else. The duality of attachment/detachment may be a little
    deep to comprehend in our material culture, but it mitigates any pain that loss might
    bring.   

    My eyes scanned the interior of the shrine as we sat, and  I could feel the heart, soul,
    and inner vision that went into Howard’s new creations.  As Howard sat pensively and we
    both talked in streams of consciousness of the past and about the future, I gazed at the
    numerous compositions of wood, metal, glass, stone, string, mirrors, plastic, and cloth
    with their iconic preciseness, directness and mystical qualities.   Eyes and teeth made of
    broken glass glittered and gleamed in the auburn and indigo shadows beckoning the late
    September afternoon Sun.  Here was the exemplary “far seeing room” of a man whom
    time has blessed with good visionary hands that once shaped lumps of earth into
    pottery,  but which now construct fascinating personages out of whatever materials he
    can find to transform.   The creative,  magical touch of an artist reaching deeply into a
    reservoir of textures and thought forms to recreate a vision of humanity is, and will
    remain, etched in my memory, and are here for all to see.

    Gerald Williams March 21 2009

    The works of Howard Mallory are presented for your
    enjoyment with his gracious consent.