I know they probably were so busy working that they didn't have much
time for crafts, but I am about to start researching for one of our art
a la carte units on African American Art. The history teachers really
want to have us come up with some crafts that were brought over from
Africa. Textiles is about all I know about offhand. One teacher said
something about seagrass basketry. Not sure where to look for that.
She said she would try to find something about it while she is in NC
this summer. But, do any of you know of anything else related to this
topic? I can't resist throwing in Jacob Lawrence's Harriet Tubman
series, even though he is 20th century. I think that the topic is so
pervasive throughout African American art past and present that you
can't ignore the more contemporary art due to the fact that the subject
won't ever be forgotten. Ok....ideas anyone?
I appreciate your interest in this subject...but, it's also interesting that
when you refer to "slave" art you mean the art of those Africans born in
America. At least, that's what is infered in you post with the mention of Jacob
Lawrence and Harriet Tubman...I might suggest that these people of whom I think
you make reference to as slaves were Africans first...placed in a condition of
slavery. Throughout History, Slaves were also a phenomenon in Europe and
As a teacher, please understand the imagery that can form in a young person's
mind when they or their ancestors are always refered to as slave or minority.
The art of the people you mention came with them in the holes of the
ship...the stories they told in Africa are the same ones they told on the plantation
after working in the fields from sun up to sun down. For instance, the Brer
Rabbit tales of the US South are decendent from the Anancy stories of the
Ashanti; the sculpture, paintings, music and dance all possess the African
perspective rather than that of slave.
Would also suggest you research some of the Gullah/Geechie peoples of
Southern North Carolina, the Low Country of Charleston and the Georgia Sea Islands.
There is a website that may give you more insight...I think it is <A HREF="www.Gullah/Geechie.com">
or you may email Queen Marquetta Goodwine at GullGeeCo@aol.com. Queen Quet,
as she is known is the official spokesperson for the Gullah Geechie Nation.