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Looking Back, Rising Forward – Honoring the History of Gullah-Geechee Islands!
Coastal Discovery Museum – June 28th, 2012 through September 10th, 2012.
Anchored in a respect for the strength of their people, the Gullah-Geechee people carry forward their centuries-old traditions in the arts and crafts, language and culture of today. The artwork in this exhibition honors the hallmarks of the Gullah-Geechee culture and preserves the richness of this unique way of life. Amiri Farris’ vibrant and colorful canvases and installations are accompanied by Judy Mooney’s bronze and clay sculptures.
Amiri Geuka Farris: This new work is a series of large paintings and installations celebrating the traditions of the Gullah-Geechee culture and its historical impact on the Sea Islands.
Amiri’s new work displays a greater focus on what he calls “a celebration of history.” You will see elements like dance and rejoicing with references to important cultural elements like the land, storytelling and artistic traditions. According to Amiri, he “tried to illustrate what life would be like on an island consisting of just Gullah- Geechee, sea island people.”
In the paintings and installations you will see a layering of objects. These design elements Adinkra symbols, paint drips and paint embellishments represent the passing of time and the movement into the future. Amiri makes reference to specific Gullah traditions and historic elements while blurring the boundaries between traditional and contemporary modes of representation.
Biography: Amiri Geuka Farris received his Masters of Fine Art in Painting, with his B.F.A in Illustration and graphic design, from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Amiri’s academic appointments include Professor of Fine Arts Foundations and Graphic Design at Georgia Southern University, at the Betty Foy Sanders Department of Art, and Professor of Fine Arts, at Savannah State University. He is currently a professor at The University of South Carolina – Beaufort where he teaches studio and fine arts. Amiri’s works are full of exuberant color and intimate personal experiences. His deep and engaging layers invite you to look deeper into the painting, where images and colors dance across the canvas in an energetic display of expression. Amiri’s work has been featured in more than 50 one-person gallery shows and juried museum exhibitions across the United States, including the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C and the York W. Bailey Museum at Historic Penn Center National Historic Landmark on St. Helena Island, South Carolina. He was named the 2008 Artist-of-the-Year at the Penn Center. He has steadily created a diverse and inspired body of work that is eagerly sought after by in private collectors throughout the world.
Judy Mooney: Judy’s work is about celebrating the Gullah-Geechee people of today, who are keeping their culture alive, and remembering the people in the stories, who are part of their history. During the creation of each sculpture, the story leads the way. Whether finished in bronze or clay, each sculpture has a distinctive character which brings the story to life for the observer.
Though Judy’s creations always start with clay, the process to produce the final bronze or ceramic sculpture is different. With clay sculptures, the finish may just be naked clay or take on a different look with stains, paper and glazes giving texture and depth. With the bronze sculptures, the finish is in the patina which gives the final brilliance to the piece.
Regardless of the material or the process, each sculpture is about moving forward without losing sight of history.
Biography: Born in Louisiana, Judy Mooney’s life and work is a rich gumbo of experiences spiced with her admiration of all people and the love of sculpting.
At the end of her career as vice president of community development, Judy returned to the university to study art, began sculpting and found a latent artist within herself. She also found, within the clay in her hands, people with stories to tell.
Today Judy is a studio artist in Savannah, Georgia. She works in ceramics and bronze. Her work can be seen in shows throughout the low country, at her website www.judymooney.com or at Friedman’s Fine Art in Savannah, Georgia and at Gallery Chuma – Market Hall in Charleston, South Carolina. The work is a part of the collections at the University of South Carolina, Beaufort and the York W. Bailey Museum at Historic Penn Center National Historic Landmark on St. Helena Island, South Carolina. Her work can also be found in homes of collectors from the northeast to the coastal towns of the low country.
Coastal Discovery Museum, 70 Honey Horn Dr., Hilton Head Island SC 29926
(843) 689-6767 ext 224 or Fax: (843) 689-3035