De’Ivyion Drew

De’Ivyion Drew is a sophomore double-majoring in studio art and in African, African American, and diaspora studies within the UNC College of Arts & Sciences. She is also a part-time student at Duke University, studying African American and black studies. She uses brass, ivory, copper, and stone to create sculptures that mimic representations of African royalty and serve as a positive commentary on present-day black culture.

De'Ivyion Drewphoto by Megan May
March 25th, 2020

Q: When you were a child, what was your response to this question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

A: I wanted to help people or animals. In kindergarten, I wanted to be a nurse, and in fourth grade, I wanted to be a veterinarian. As I grew older, my understanding of this question expanded beyond labor and into a desire for a sound well-being and community involvement.

Q: Share the pivotal moment in your life that helped you choose your field of study.

A: During my senior year of high school, I participated in an annual day of classes centered around topics like LEGO blocks, “Star Wars” gravity theory, and volcanic eruptions. We had to select classes to attend, and since I was a senior, I thought I would get my top choice: modern feminism. But that’s not what happened. I was assigned to a clay class. It took me a while to get started, but once I did, I wanted to work beyond the class time to get everything done. The rest is history.

De"ivyion Drew with her family in front of a Christmas tree

Drew with her family during the holidays.

Q: Tell us about a time you encountered a tricky problem. How did you handle it and what did you learn from it?

A: Since Fall 2019, I have been working part-time as a student library assistant for the Sloane Art Library. I love it so much, because there is a plethora of books in studio art and art history that diversify my artistic perspective and style. During one of my shifts, I was shelving books upstairs and noticed that by a desk work station someone had written racially charged profanities on the wall. There was a millisecond of shock followed by a somber exhale. I felt disappointed but not surprised. I alerted the staff, and they offered support to me and next steps. I have learned to be more vocal about my needs in traumatic racial situations. I am so thankful for the leadership team at the Sloane Art Library for their support through that challenging time.

Q: Describe your research in 5 words.

A: African diaspora sculpture in action.

Q: What are your passions outside of research?

A: Community organizing, game nights with Mirecourt — a co-ed living community at Duke — and spending time with family.

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