Carrie Mae WeemsSea Islands Series, 1991–199226.01. - 06.05.2018
Carrie Mae Weems, *1953 in Portland (Oregon), USA,
lives and works in New York
Photo © Telfair Museum14 available works
Considered one of America’s most influential contemporary artists, Carrie Mae Weems became interested in the unique Gullah culture found on the Sea Islands off the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina while studying folklore in graduate school at the University of California, Berkeley.
Because of the islands’ physical isolation from the mainland and their majority black population, Sea Islands region residents were able to retain many aspects of African culture throughout the period of slavery and into the present day. Gullah society, in fact, has been called “the most African of American cultures.”
Working within the conventions of photography, folklore, and storytelling, Weems emotionally mines the African diaspora in the American South through this work, titled Sea Islands Series and made between 1991 and 1992. By presenting these particular African American cultural details, especially those with direct links to Africa, Weems demonstrates a developed and persistent heritage, one that stands in contrast to what often has been erased in mainstream historical accounts.Read more