Sharif Bey is an American, artist, ceramicist and professor. He produces both functional pottery and ceramic and mixed- media sculpture, using a variety of forms and textures. His body of work reflects his interest in the visual heritage of Africa and Oceania, as well as contemporary African American culture. With his colorful large-scale bead sculptures, Bey explores the cultural and political significance of ornamentation and adornment.
As a high school student Sharif completed a ceramics apprenticeship at the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild. The Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild played a formative role for Bey throughout his teens, giving him a foundation of skills, extensive ceramics-world connections, and exposure to a who’s who of visiting masters – the likes of Ron Nagle, Jun Kaneko, Karen Karnes, Norm Schulman, David Shaner, Judy Moonelis, and Paul Soldner. Later, he earned his BFA in ceramics from Slippery Rock University, his MFA in studio art from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and PhD in art education from Pennsylvania State University.
Sharif has taught at numerous universities including Winston Salem State University, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Syracuse University. He has held artist residencies at the McColl Center for Art + Innovation, John Michael Kohler Arts Center, and Pittsburgh Glass Center.