The Gund


Shadows of Spirit: The Visual Culture of Gullah and Beyond

Information About the Event

On View

Buchwald-Wright Gallery, Free Admission


Curated by the Gund Gallery team with the assistance of Kenyon College professors Peter Rutkoff and Will Scott. Research and writing by Gund Associates Molly Donovan ’16, Olivia Frey ’16, Dulce Montoya ’14, and Han Zaw ’14.

Special thanks to the Penn Center (SC), the Charleston Museum (SC), the Mathers Museum of World Cultures (IN), Marlene O’Bryant-Seabrook, Will Scott, and Peter Rutkoff.

The Gund programs and exhibitions are made possible, in part, by The Gund Board of Directors and the Ohio Arts Council.


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Distinctive basket weaving, quilting, ironwork and ceramics, storytelling, dance and music, illustrate the rich legacy of Gullah culture within African America. “Gullah” refers to a language, cuisine, and craft culture, as well as a community of people. The Gullah community consists of descendants of enslaved Africans that originally spanned from Southeast North Carolina to Northeast Florida. Material Culture objects, such as sweetgrass baskets, represent the appropriation of weaving traditions from West Africa into American cultural traditions. What started as a practice to make utilitarian objects, such as baskets to winnow rice or carry fruit, is now part of the African-American heritage celebrated for its artistry. Shadows of Spirit: The Visual Culture of Gullah and Beyond traces African sources, colonial and modern influences and innovations in Gullah material culture.

This exhibition ran concurrently with “Cumsee:” Sam Doyle and Carrie Mae Weems: Sea Island Series.

Conversation with Esteemed Gullah Guests: Art in Gullah Culture

Common Hour Talk: The Legacy of Philip Simmons

Gallery Talk with Peter Rutkoff