Gullah Inspired Art

Have you ever heard the word “Gullah”? Most of our kids had not until a couple of weeks ago. The Gullah are the descendants of enslaved Africans who lived in the Lowcountry regions of Georgia and South Carolina, which includes both the coastal plain and the Sea Islands.

Recently, our Friday art class was centered around learning about the Gullah people including their history, language, music, food and, of course, artwork. I brought in a few paintings that I had purchased while living in Beaufort, South Carolina to serve as inspiration. We also listened to stories and music so that the kids could hear the language and get a sense of the rhythm. While listening to the music (which a lot of kids found to be the best part), we created our own Gullah influenced paintings. The idea was to let the language and the examples of works by Gullah artists inspire the kids to create something similar. As we looked through the works of art, we noticed that there was a consistency in color pallet and subject matter. We also noticed that in almost all of the paintings, the people did not have the any facial details and discussed possible reasons for this. It was a great afternoon of discussion, painting and even a little dancing.