Re: [African_Arts] Begin with Gullah Traditions in South Carolina
- Thanks Lee .... Having been born in Georgia I remember seeing these baskets ... you could find them being sold on the backroads of SC and Ga along with boiled peanuts and bushels of butterbeans... tho my curiosity was more of what if any traditional (particularly wood) pieces might have been produced and survived here under the conditions of slavery. You would think maybe there would be a mossi doll ... or an Ibeji ... or perhaps some slingshots if not power figures or ancestral figures that might have been produced in an attempt at spiritual survival especially from first generation slaves who carried these living traditions across the dark waters of their fate.I can't help but think that there must have been some moonlight carving going on as the connection of ancestors and spiritual sustenance would have been as crucial as food and water to some for survival. Apparently the brutal oppressive/repressive circumstances effectively prevented such action. Not to say it wasn't tried ... tho one can imagine the punishment would be severe if caught. I suspect there must have been some attempts that went undetected ...tho they would have long sense decayed in the nooks and crannies of hidden places. No doubt any activity that encouraged community outside that of slavery was not allowed tho, on the other hand... perhaps these forms were in fact <if I may stretch the meaning of the term> terrigenous and would have been as equally displaced as those that sought comfort through them. Perhaps those <slaves> that were transported knew that their tribal ties were severed beyond any hope of rescue physically or spiritually and they simply did the best that they could to survive in such dire circumstances.Tribal culture is typically tied to place.. to the land that carries the blood and bones of ancestors, to creation myths - to places of power, of emergence... to stories passed down through collective memory inseparable from the earth that sustained the people in their journey through time and space. I suppose that is why 'conquered' tribes retained their tribal identity even while colonized while those taken away quickly lost their tribal identity.Thanks for your words Ed... I agree ... it seems odd to take such interest in a peoples 'art' and to have no interest in the culture itself.Thanks to Michael for reference to the Vlach work. Am curious to see what wood carving he has documented.To Todd .... Wow ... very interesting piece ... potentially a very rare and important piece as it marks a huge transition in the history of african culture and it's enslaved population. Interesting also that the cup? vessel? on the cover of the Vlach book also has this caricature quality. Makes sense in a way ... one wouldn't know that large lips were an identifying characteristic if everyone around you had large lips ....Thanks to all who responded.Daniel Wolf
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