Journal of History of Design and Curatorial Studies
Parsons School of Design
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

History of Design and Curatorial Studies
Parsons School of Design
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Design & Activism 


Requiem: Grant Them Eternal Rest

Sebastian Grant


A picture containing a copper form of the lower half of a body shown from the rear, attached to a silver chain, and resting on a piece of black cloth against light-colored wood.

Fig. 1 Clyde Johnson, Unbound Set Free, 2013 hand-carved jeweler’s wax copper electroformed and soldered to bronze cast wood, sterling silver, garnets. hand-fabricated sterling silver, diamond.

Interested in the legacy of the Jim Crow era and exploring the catharsis of Black trauma, jewelry artist Clyde Johnson creates works based on the early twentieth-century lynching of Black men in the Southern United States. By interpreting images from the book Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America, Johnson wants to give respect back to a body that has been mutilated and desecrated by the horrible afflictions of racism. The dismembered body depicted by half a torso hanging on a chain shows the violent attacks that were often done by mobs of hate, and it captures the anonymity of the many unknown Black men and women who lost their lives simply for being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Capturing the horror of lynching in Unbound Set Free (Fig. 1), Johnson hopes to finally give these souls, haunted by the atrocities of the past, the rest and peace they deserve.




Sebastian Grant (he, him, his)

is a curator, art historian, and instructor at Parsons School of Design in New York City. He received his Bachelor’s degree at McGill University in Art History and Classics, and he received his MA for History of Design and Curatorial Studies in 2017 from Parsons School of Design, participating in the program’s first Curatorial Capstone Project. He currently works as collections manager of the Susan Grant Lewin Art Jewelry Collection and is a researcher in African American jewelry artists of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.¬†