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Griots of Cotton, Indigo, & Clay

The City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs presents Griots of Cotton, Indigo, and Clay, on view January 20 through February 28, 2022 at City Gallery. Griots of Cotton, Indigo, and Clay debuts the permanent collection of the Acres of Ancestry Initiative/Black Agrarian Fund, an evolution of the advocacy efforts of the Black Belt Justice Center. Curated by Torreah “Cookie” Washington, and featuring more than 100 pieces of artwork commissioned from Black fiber artists in the South Carolina Lowcountry, the Black Belt South and the African Diaspora at large, this vast array of textile art portrays the power of the Black imagination to extend beyond colonial frameworks, centering narratives of self-sustained land ownership and spirit-cultural reclamation. Inspired by the movement for restoration of eco-cultural traditional practices, Griots of Cotton, Indigo, and Clay showcases the rich tradition of fiber art as material culture and tells the untold stories of struggle and resilience rooted in black ecocultural traditions and textile arts. The artworks of more than four dozen artisans will be on view, including works by the artists of The Return of the Bees Collective. The collected artworks examine the ideals of racial pride, social power, identity, and the importance of land, heritage and culture.

Exhibiting artist and curator Cookie Washington said, “Black fiber artisans uphold the charge of griots, weaving together narratives of resistance into tactile expressions of land memory and visions for the future.”

This exhibition is generously supported by the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation and received funding from the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

January 20, 2022 - February 27, 2022

City Gallery at Waterfront Park
34 Prioleau St.
Charleston, SC 29401

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