Saturday, August 25, 2012

Mermaids and Merwomen in Black Folklore Art Exhibition

What do Pliny the Elder, Bartholomaeus Anglicus, Christopher Columbus, the first three enslaved Africans brought to the South Carolina Low Country, Henry Hudson, explorer of the Hudson River, and the current Water Resources Minister Zimbabwe have in common? 

They have all seen mermaids!

A few months ago we posted a Call for Entries for the Mermaids and Merwomen in Black Folklore Fibre Arts Exhibition. Well the exhibition is nigh upon us and we wanted to bring it to your attention again, simply because thematically it deals with mermaids – "black" mermaids to be specific – and culturally it is important to understand the importance of mermaids in stories and mythologies from around the world. This exhibition is also very moving—the stories of mermaids comforting African slaves kidnapped from their home and chained in the hulls of ships on route to a strange land where their lives are to be filled with horror, brings us to tears. 

This exhibition brings us those tales and more. Over 100 art quilts and art dolls will explore the visual representations of myths of Afro-centric mermaidswater spirits celebrated throughout Africa and the Afro-Atlantic world as deities.

A colour-drenched exhibition catalogue, Black Mermaids in Vision & Verse, invites you to celebrate the relationship between fine craft and soaring poetic verse that speaks of the black mermaid.  For the first time poets have been tasked with writing poems to accompany a fiber arts exhibit dealing with one specific subject.  Dive in to the rich juicy Mermaid poetry and the vivid, affecting powerful collection of artwork and you will be baptized into the undersea world of the Merpeople.

Mermaids and Merwomen in Black Folklore promises to be a visual journey of color and inspiration, an inspiring feast of imagination and expression.  The art dolls and art quilts depicting mermaids and water spirits will delight and educate the public about this little known folklore.  The fine craftsmanship in Mermaids and Merwomen in Black Folklore is griot in nature.  This exhibit brings together both critically acclaimed and emerging fiber artists.  Each piece is a storyteller, using color, texture, form and embellishment to express a narrative.
Curator, Torreah "Cookie" Washington says, 
Mermaid stories may have first come to the USA through the South Carolina Low Country with the first three black slaves that arrived in the year 1670 along with Colonial Barbadian immigrants.  African-based faiths honoring black mermaids have continued to flourish throughout much of the Americas.  Today, new communities of color have reestablished, revisualized, and revitalized African water spirits in their art. The quilting and doll-making traditions have also undergone a renaissance as utilitarianism has given way to fine crafts.  Mermaids and Merwomen in Black Folklore is a journey of color and inspiration, a visual feast of imagination and expression.  The fine craftsmanship in Mermaids and Merwomen in Black Folklore is griot in nature,” says Curator Cookie Washington.  She has brought together both critically acclaimed and emerging fiber artists.  “Each piece is a storyteller, using color, texture, form and embellishment to express a narrative.”
We would like to congratulate curator Torreah "Cookie" Washington looks to have done an extraordinary job in realising her vision. We wish we could be there, but alas, we live half way around the world.

But you can go and here is all the information you need:

Dates: 28 August to 28 October 2012
Venue: City Gallery at Waterfront Park, Historic Charleston, South Carolina USA

The opening reception will be held on 8 September from 5pm to 8pm.

For further enquiries, email Torreah "Cookie" Washington on or phone on +1 843 259 8108.

Art credits featured in exhibition: 

We Are Mermaids Too (Redux) by Kit Lang

Little Karoo at Night by Kit Lang

1 comment:

Kit Lang said...

Just came across this although I know it's old news. :) Thanks for sharing my work!