The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

Skip to main content
June 8, 2025 to January 4, 2026 | Sound Gallery, Opatrny Gallery, Camera Obscura

Nickola Pottinger

A lot of my work materializes in the process of making, and from there, there is a channeling that occurs.[1] – Nickola Pottinger

Nickola Pottinger’s practice spans drawing, collage, and sculpture. Her objects often appear in the round, on the wall, or sometimes within tableaux. She refers to her sculptural works as “duppies” (Jamaican patois for ghosts) in reverence to her Jamaican ancestry and the West Indian community in Crown Heights, Brooklyn where she was raised and still resides today. Composed out of recovered heirlooms, excavated and recycled materials, Pottinger creates pigmented paper pulp from family documents, past artworks, and rubble using a handheld kitchen mixer. Akin to clay or concrete and imbued with memories of her family lineage as well as folklore heard as a child, she embellishes her mystical creations, which sometimes manifest as protectors, couriers or even spirits of the deceased, with oil pastel and watercolor, casts of her hands and face, teeth, gilded Yagua leaf, lava rocks, Bantu hair knots and more. Her titles often reference their origins, places, memories, and adages specific to Jamaica. Sliding between figure and object, with references to her body, as maker and matter, her “duppies” resemble fantastical presences, spiritual talisman, and anthropomorphized furniture, with narratives fueled by dreams, actuality, and something in-between.

This exhibition marks the artist’s solo museum debut. It will unveil a new body of work made specifically for the show. It will be accompanied by Pottinger’s first museum publication with an essay by the curator. This exhibition is curated by Amy Smith-Stewart, Chief Curator.

Nickola Pottinger was born in 1986 in Kingston, Jamaica and lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She received her BFA from The Cooper Union in 2008. Her work has been included in exhibitions at the New Museum, NY, Swivel Gallery, Brooklyn, Chapter NY, Sargent’s Daughters, NY, Deanna Evans Project, NY, Galerie Julien Cadet, Paris, Mrs. Gallery, Queens, and Jenkins Johnson Gallery, NY, among many others.

1. Logan Royce Breitman, “Conjuring Spirits and The Spirit of Art with Nickola Pottinger,” Interlocutor Magazine, February 28, 2024, https://interlocutorinterviews...


Generous support for Nickola Pottinger is provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. The catalogue is supported by the Eric Diefenbach and James-Keith Brown Publications Fund. Production support is provided by the Diana Bowes and Jim Torrey Commissions Fund.


Top image: Nickola Pottinger, ol’hige, 2023, Paper Pulp, Fiber Glass, Gold Leaf, Teeth, Oil Pastels, Pigments, Black Soap, Shells, Resin, Hairclips and Copper, 20 x 36 x 20 inches. Courtesy of the artist