Conservation in the Classroom
April 30, 2021
Art Market
March 10, 2021

Return to Nature: A Gullah Geechee Story

Return to Nature: Gullah Geechee Story is an exploration of the plight and resiliency of the descendants of West Africans and indigenous Americans who inhabit the Sea Islands of South Carolina. This exhibition features dynamic bodies of work that examine the evolution of Gullah Geechee art, while chronicling history in relation to nature.

Featured artists include Jonathan Green, Sam Doyle, Amiri Farris, Natalie Daise, Diane Britton Dunham, Arianne King Comer, James Denmark, and Hank D. Herring.

While the artists depict the lives of ordinary people, the layered textures and rich, vivid colors reflect a celebration of Creole culture, as well as the vitality and nobility of the subject. Both the art and objects featured in this exhibition introduce the viewer to a culture which is dominated by the honoring of ancestors, agriculture, Sea Island living, spirituality, and cultural memory.

May 3 - June 28th
Opening reception: May 13th from 5-7 PM

Imagery by Amiri Farris

Return to Nature: A Gullah Geechee Story

Return to Nature: Gullah Geechee Story is an exploration of the plight and resiliency of the descendants of West Africans and indigenous Americans who inhabit the Sea Islands of South Carolina. This exhibition features dynamic bodies of work that examine the evolution of Gullah Geechee art, while chronicling history in relation to nature.

Featured artists include Jonathan Green, Sam Doyle, Amiri Farris, Natalie Daise, Diane Britton Dunham, Arianne King Comer, James Denmark, and Hank D. Herring.

While the artists depict the lives of ordinary people, the layered textures and rich, vivid colors reflect a celebration of Creole culture, as well as the vitality and nobility of the subject. Both the art and objects featured in this exhibition introduce the viewer to a culture which is dominated by the honoring of ancestors, agriculture, Sea Island living, spirituality, and cultural memory.

May 3 - June 28th
Opening reception: May 13th from 5-7 PM

Imagery by Amiri Farris

JONATHAN
GREEN

Painter and printmaker Jonathan Green is considered one of the most important contemporary painters of the Southern experience. Green’s artwork is heavily influenced by his Gullah heritage with vividly colored paintings documenting everyday chores in addition to celebrating Gullah life’s rites of passage. Since 1982, Green has participated in various traveling and solo exhibitions throughout the United States. His work is in the permanent collections of numerous museums including The Morris Museum, The Afro-American Museum of Philadelphia, The Naples Museum of Art and the IFCC Cultural Center. In 1996 Green received an honorary doctorate from the University of South Carolina, the same year the book “Gullah Images: The Art of Johnathan Green” was published. In 2009 Green received the Key of Life Award for his contributions and achievements in the visual fine arts from the NAACP at its Image Awards.

JONATHAN
GREEN

Painter and printmaker Jonathan Green is considered one of the most important contemporary painters of the Southern experience. Green’s artwork is heavily influenced by his Gullah heritage with vividly colored paintings documenting everyday chores in addition to celebrating Gullah life’s rites of passage. Since 1982, Green has participated in various traveling and solo exhibitions throughout the United States. His work is in the permanent collections of numerous museums including The Morris Museum, The Afro-American Museum of Philadelphia, The Naples Museum of Art and the IFCC Cultural Center. In 1996 Green received an honorary doctorate from the University of South Carolina, the same year the book “Gullah Images: The Art of Johnathan Green” was published. In 2009 Green received the Key of Life Award for his contributions and achievements in the visual fine arts from the NAACP at its Image Awards.

SAM
DOYLE

Sam Doyle was born in South Carolina on Saint Helena Island where African cultural influences thrived. As a youth, he attended the island’s Penn School, established in 1862 to provide education and vocational training to newly liberated freedmen, until family hardship forced his withdrawal. Doyle first made a painting on cast-off, tin roofing in 1944. He placed the painting in the yard of his clapboard house. Overtime, he added more works to his museum-like display; most were portraits of people and events important to his community, others paid tribute to African American advancement. Using discarded materials — primarily metal roofing, plywood, and house paint – Doyle created a stirring oeuvre of expressive portraits which included two important series: “First” (achievement) and “Penn” (school). The creolized Gullah language was Doyle’s first and his creatively spelled, painted words further enhance his works and inform the viewer. The artist summed up momentous events with poetic simplicity and had a genius for distilling the essence of personality. His paintings are so deftly executed that they often achieve iconic status.

SAM DOYLE

Sam Doyle was born in South Carolina on Saint Helena Island where African cultural influences thrived. As a youth, he attended the island’s Penn School, established in 1862 to provide education and vocational training to newly liberated freedmen, until family hardship forced his withdrawal. Doyle first made a painting on cast-off, tin roofing in 1944. He placed the painting in the yard of his clapboard house. Overtime, he added more works to his museum-like display; most were portraits of people and events important to his community, others paid tribute to African American advancement. Using discarded materials — primarily metal roofing, plywood, and house paint – Doyle created a stirring oeuvre of expressive portraits which included two important series: “First” (achievement) and “Penn” (school). The creolized Gullah language was Doyle’s first and his creatively spelled, painted words further enhance his works and inform the viewer. The artist summed up momentous events with poetic simplicity and had a genius for distilling the essence of personality. His paintings are so deftly executed that they often achieve iconic status.

AMIRI
FARRIS

Amiri Geuka Farris is a contemporary, multidisciplinary artist who uses a wide range of work encompasses painting, drawing, video, performance, and installation. Farris received his MFA in Painting, with his BFA in Illustration and Graphic Design, from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Farris’ 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 the University of South Carolina-Beaufort. Farris’ work has been featured in more than 50 solo exhibitions and juried museum exhibitions across the United States, including the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., and the Smithsonian.

AMIRI
FARRIS

Amiri Geuka Farris is a contemporary, multidisciplinary artist who uses a wide range of work encompasses painting, drawing, video, performance, and installation. Farris received his MFA in Painting, with his BFA in Illustration and Graphic Design, from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Farris’ 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 the University of South Carolina-Beaufort. Farris’ work has been featured in more than 50 solo exhibitions and juried museum exhibitions across the United States, including the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., and the Smithsonian.

NATALIE
DAISE

While best known as "Ms. Natalie" on Nick Jr.'s award winning television program, Gullah Gullah Island, Natalie has been a practicing, self-taught, visual artist for most of her life. Though a professional storyteller for more than 30 years, it has only been during the past decade that she has shared her visual artwork outside her studio. Her paintings and functional art arise from the oral tradition. Natalie explores the continuation of telling using acrylic, oil, paper, wood, and ink. Her “Collard Green Series” explores the rich traditions of the African American and Gullah Geechee communities that nurture her own creativity, as well as the process by which creative action shapes the communities themselves. With her husband of more than 30 years, Ron Daise, she has also researched, developed, and presented programming that expanded the understanding and celebration of Gullah Culture.

NATALIE DAISE

While best known as "Ms. Natalie" on Nick Jr.'s award winning television program, Gullah Gullah Island, Natalie has been a practicing, self-taught, visual artist for most of her life. Though a professional storyteller for more than 30 years, it has only been during the past decade that she has shared her visual artwork outside her studio. Her paintings and functional art arise from the oral tradition. Natalie explores the continuation of telling using acrylic, oil, paper, wood, and ink. Her “Collard Green Series” explores the rich traditions of the African American and Gullah Geechee communities that nurture her own creativity, as well as the process by which creative action shapes the communities themselves. With her husband of more than 30 years, Ron Daise, she has also researched, developed, and presented programming that expanded the understanding and celebration of Gullah Culture.

DIANNE
BRITTON DUNHAM

Diane Britton Dunham’s art has been recognized internationally as a genuine illustration of the history and traditions of African America southern culture for decades. Her paintings are well known because of their brilliant coloring, intricate human and landscape forms and themes that represent community life in South Carolina’s Lowcountry region and the bayous of Louisiana with a strong emphasis on women of color. A self-taught mixed media artist, historian, writer and instructor, Dunham has received many honors and awards. Diane, as a cultural preservationist is a strong supporter of the arts within the community, she is the Vice Chairperson of the Beaufort Arts Council Board of Directors, the Chairperson of the Gullah African Diaspora Artists, serves on the University of South Carolina Art and Design Advisory Board, a member of the National Association of Women Artists NYC., and SC chapters, as well as serving with many other organizations.

DIANNEBRITTON DUNHAM

Diane Britton Dunham’s art has been recognized internationally as a genuine illustration of the history and traditions of African America southern culture for decades. Her paintings are well known because of their brilliant coloring, intricate human and landscape forms and themes that represent community life in South Carolina’s Lowcountry region and the bayous of Louisiana with a strong emphasis on women of color. A self-taught mixed media artist, historian, writer and instructor, Dunham has received many honors and awards. Diane, as a cultural preservationist is a strong supporter of the arts within the community, she is the Vice Chairperson of the Beaufort Arts Council Board of Directors, the Chairperson of the Gullah African Diaspora Artists, serves on the University of South Carolina Art and Design Advisory Board, a member of the National Association of Women Artists NYC., and SC chapters, as well as serving with many other organizations.

ARIANNE
KING COMER

Arianne King Comer is a multifaceted artist, who not only produces art on canvas but is a master dye maker and batik artist. Arianne has completed a collection of wearable art for the new Smithsonian African American Museum store, which debuted in September 2016.Her work is in several permanent collections such as the Seeking Indigo, North Charleston’s City Hall, Seltzer, Jonathan Green, Harold Rhodes, and Norma Dotson Collections. Arianne is featured in several documentaries and design segments such as PBS, Home and Garden TV, Alternate ROOTS, local broadcasts, and publications. She continues creating textile for ongoing projects empowering culture and virtual panel discussions. Currently, Arianne is the Artist in Residency at the Gibbes Museum in Charleston, SC.

ARIANNE KING COMER

Arianne King Comer is a multifaceted artist, who not only produces art on canvas but is a master dye maker and batik artist. Arianne has completed a collection of wearable art for the new Smithsonian African American Museum store, which debuted in September 2016.Her work is in several permanent collections such as the Seeking Indigo, North Charleston’s City Hall, Seltzer, Jonathan Green, Harold Rhodes, and Norma Dotson Collections. Arianne is featured in several documentaries and design segments such as PBS, Home and Garden TV, Alternate ROOTS, local broadcasts, and publications. She continues creating textile for ongoing projects empowering culture and virtual panel discussions. Currently, Arianne is the Artist in Residency at the Gibbes Museum in Charleston, SC.

JAMES
DENMARK

James Denmark was born into a family of artists. He was exposed to color and form at an early age by his grandmother, a wire sculptor and quilt artist, by his grandfather, a bricklayer noted for his unique custom design molds and his mother, who was gifted with an intuitive feeling for design and a fastidiousness for detail. This rich beginning is the root of James Denmark’s creative expression. Denmark earned his Master of Fine Art Degree at the Pratt Institute of Fine Art in New York. While at Pratt, he began experimenting with collage. Denmark has a natural affinity for the difficult and largely improvisational medium of collage and has his own unique, easily identifiable style. With brightly hand colored papers, found papers, fabric and objects, Denmark creates compositions that go beyond the superficial and transitory and focuses, instead, on what is eternal and universal. Denmark’s collages, watercolors, woodcuts, and reproductions are sought after by galleries and collectors worldwide.

JAMES DENMARK

James Denmark was born into a family of artists. He was exposed to color and form at an early age by his grandmother, a wire sculptor and quilt artist, by his grandfather, a bricklayer noted for his unique custom design molds and his mother, who was gifted with an intuitive feeling for design and a fastidiousness for detail. This rich beginning is the root of James Denmark’s creative expression. Denmark earned his Master of Fine Art Degree at the Pratt Institute of Fine Art in New York. While at Pratt, he began experimenting with collage. Denmark has a natural affinity for the difficult and largely improvisational medium of collage and has his own unique, easily identifiable style. With brightly hand colored papers, found papers, fabric and objects, Denmark creates compositions that go beyond the superficial and transitory and focuses, instead, on what is eternal and universal. Denmark’s collages, watercolors, woodcuts, and reproductions are sought after by galleries and collectors worldwide.

HANK
HERRING

Hank D. Herring currently resides in Beaufort, SC where he is the owner of the Green Herring Art and Framing Studio. Hank learned about art at an early age from watching and being instructed by artistic family members and school art programs. He won numerous science fair awards in school by using wood and metal as his medium. Hank’s 20-year career in the Marine Corps, where his occupational specialty was a machinist, allowed him to learn more creative ways to manipulate metals, plastic, glass, and composite materials into art. Hank's work has been featured in museums and galleries throughout the United States, to Canada, Great Britain and Ireland and Japan. He uses cultural symbols to create wooden stamps for working in batik, print making, quilting, and ceramics.

HANK HERRING

Hank D. Herring currently resides in Beaufort, SC where he is the owner of the Green Herring Art and Framing Studio. Hank learned about art at an early age from watching and being instructed by artistic family members and school art programs. He won numerous science fair awards in school by using wood and metal as his medium. Hank’s 20-year career in the Marine Corps, where his occupational specialty was a machinist, allowed him to learn more creative ways to manipulate metals, plastic, glass, and composite materials into art. Hank's work has been featured in museums and galleries throughout the United States, to Canada, Great Britain and Ireland and Japan. He uses cultural symbols to create wooden stamps for working in batik, print making, quilting, and ceramics.

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