Kenyon College

Shadows of Spirit: The Visual Culture of Gullah and Beyond

January 24, 2014–March 2, 2014  [+]

January 24-March 2, 2014
Opening January 24th, 2014 5-7 PM

Distinctive basket weaving, quilting, ironwork and ceramics, storytelling, dance and music, illustrate the rich legacy of Gullah culture within African America. “Gullah” refers to a language, cuisine, and craft culture, as well as a community of people. The Gullah community consists of descendants of enslaved Africans that originally spanned from Southeast North Carolina to Northeast Florida. Material Culture objects, such as sweetgrass baskets, represent the appropriation of weaving traditions from West Africa into American cultural traditions. What started as a practice to make utilitarian objects, such as baskets to winnow rice or carry fruit, is now part of the African-American heritage celebrated for its artistry. Shadows of Spirit: The Visual Culture of Gullah and Beyond traces African sources, colonial and modern influences and innovations in Gullah material culture.

This exhibition ran concurrently with “Cumsee:” Sam Doyle and Carrie Mae Weems: Sea Island Series.

Curated by the Gund Gallery team with the assistance of Kenyon College professors Peter Rutkoff and Will Scott. Research and writing by Gund Associates Molly Donovan ’16, Olivia Frey ’16, Dulce Montoya ’14, and Han Zaw ’14.

Special thanks to the Penn Center (SC), the Charleston Museum (SC), the Mathers Museum of World Cultures (IN), Marlene O’Bryant-Seabrook, Will Scott, and Peter Rutkoff.

Exhibition-related Public Programs

Conversation with Esteemed Gullah Guests: Art in Gullah Culture from Gund Gallery on Vimeo.

Common Hour Talk: The Legacy of Philip Simmons from Gund Gallery on Vimeo.

Gallery Talk with Peter Rutkoff from Gund Gallery on Vimeo.

Exhibition Image Gallery