Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of going to the Museum of African Art in SW DC. A friend invited me along and since I had a day off (from both jobs) I took her up on it. And imagine my surprise when I saw that I had not missed an exhibit I really wanted to see!
This past May I read an article in The Island Packet, the Hilton Head newspaper, about an exhibit that was coming to the Smithsonian museum in DC. Grass Roots: African Origins of American Art was going to be on display at the Museum of African Art from June 23 until November 28. Sweetgrass baskets are a staple and very important to the Gullah people and other inhabitants along the South Carolina and Georgia coasts. Looking at the baskets and watching the videos of the basket makers made me think of my home state. As my paternal family is from the SC coast, I am very familiar with the history and significance of these baskets. And I remembered making a sweetgrass basket and learning Gullah during my 8th grade SC History Class. (I wonder if Southern Mom still has my basket…) In addition to baskets from the coast being on display, there were also baskets from various African countries. As I walked around, I felt a little nostalgic and homesick. It really made me appreciate my history. Suprisingly, the slave auction signs they had hanging didn’t upset me. (I don’t think that’s really significant to the story, but I felt like sharing. *kanye shrug*)
The time and patience it takes to create these baskets is amazing. If you ever visit Charleston, Beaufort, Hilton Head, or Daufuskie Island, SC or Savannah, GA, I highly suggest you purchase a basket. It will be a beautiful decoration to your home. Most importantly, you only have 10 more days to go see the exhibit in DC before it moves on. I may even go see it again. Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.