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Grass Roots
8 Aug 2012
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From "Grass Roots":

In 2010, The Art of the Rural discussed the Black Banjo Gathering, and how those musicians were reclaiming the banjo as an African instrument while also celebrating how its role in American musics. The National Endowment for the Humanities, and their NEH On The Road program, are offering an exhibit that also celebrates a transatlantic cultural exchange: Grass Roots: African Origins of an American Art. Here's an introduction:

"Grass Roots: African Origins of an American Art traces the parallel histories of coiled basketry in Africa and America, and explores the contemporary evolution of an ancient craft in a global economy.
"Featuring baskets from the lowcountry of South Carolina and Georgia, as well as from diverse regions of Africa including Senegal and South Africa, Grass Roots examines the origins of the African-American coiled basketry tradition on American shores, from the domestication of rice in Africa two millenia ago, through the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and the Carolina rice plantation, and then into the present day. Organized by the Museum for African Art in New York City and co-curated by Enid Schildkrout (Chief Curator, Museum for African Art) and Dale Rosengarten (Curator and Historian, College of Charleston), Grass Roots highlights the remarkable beauty of coiled basketry and shows how a utilitarian object can become both a masterwork of fine craft and a container of memory and collective history.
The Art of the Rural has also discussed The Mid-American Arts Alliance and their collaboration with Dave Loewenstein on The Mural Project, and lo and behold, they've also worked with the NEH On The Road program to produce videos. In the one featured in this post, Nakia Wigfall discusses her personal connection to basket arts. She's a fifth-generation basket-maker from Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, and also the director of the Sweetgrass Cultural Arts Preservation Society.
Art Community Culture Education History Indigenous Innovation Rural/Regional Exhibit Folklife Preservation SouthCarolina Southeast Textiles/Crafts
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