Carrie Mae Weems (b.1953), the 2013 MacArthur Fellowship recipient, has spent the past 30 years addressing issues of race, gender, family, class, and history in American Society in her artwork. In Sea Islands Series, made in the early 1990s, Weems photographically explores the spiritual and cultural life of the Gullah people living off the coast of Georgia and South Carolina. The Gullah people, descendants of freed slaves, maintain cultural links to their past through language, artistic traditions, music, and storytelling. The roots of the Gullah community trace back to the antebellum period, when their ancestors were brought from West Africa to the region as slaves. Weems portrays the distinctive culture of the Gullah people through intimate depictions of place; illustrating haunting landscapes, iconic architectural structures, and objects infused with legends and lore.
–Emma Lewis ‘14