• Hayley Donnelly, "Hang Time," Slip casted ceramics. 2019.
  • Hayley Donnelly, "Hang Time" (detail), Slip casted ceramics. 2019.
  • Hayley Donnelly, View from below "Hang Time". Slip casted ceramic. 2019.
  • Hayley Donnelly, Detail view of a lacrosse stick head. Slip casted ceramics. 2019.
  • Hayley Donnelly, "Hang Time" (detail), slip casted ceramics. 2019.

Sports culture is a deeply American tradition that many partake in from a young age. An athlete’s mentality is inherently built on competition and camaraderie. Though teams utilize collectivism to work towards common goals, individualistic aspects come from the unspoken anxieties and doubts that are normally at play. Through sports psychology, we are able to understand how detrimental overthinking can be to an athlete’s performance. The pressure of performance creeps into an athlete’s mind, causing them to overthink, doubt their own abilities, or worry about their performance. The internal struggle in an athlete’s mind reflects the individual challenges all athletes experience. At times I’ve questioned my own love for sports because of these pressures and insecurities.

My ceiling installation, Hang Time, plays on these very internal conflicts by displaying clay sports equipment in somber tones of white, black, and blue to express the darkness of such insecurities. The use of dark and ominous tones reflects feelings of comparison and the experience of performing in someone else’s shadow. When it comes to sports and my performance within them, I was consistently overshadowed by others. Viewers can interact with my exhibition while they stand under the ceramic replicas of sports equipment that physically shadows them, mirroring a small fragment of what an athlete encounters in sports and sports culture.