This fall at the Fowler Museum in Los Angeles, California, three exhibitions explore various aspects of African American and African basketry arts, and their historic connections. The largest of the three exhibitions is Grass Roots: African Origins of an American Art (Oct 4, 2009 – Jan 10, 2010) a major traveling exhibition organized by the Museum for African Art in New York. The second exhibition is African American Life on the Gullah/Geechee Coast: Photographs by Greg Day, 1970–1977 (Sept 20, 2009–Jan 3, 2010), which features forty black-and-white images taken in the same South Carolina region where the Grass Roots basket makers live and work. A third exhibition, Fowler in Focus: African Basketry Arts, Thinking outside the Basket (opening Sept 6, 2009), highlights ingenious and beautiful basketry forms from the Fowler’s permanent collection that were not created as containers but served other purposes in African life.
Selected Related Events:
Saturday, Oct 3, 2009 5 pm
Fowler OutSpoken Lectures: Enid Schildkrout and Dale Rosengarten: Grass Roots: African Origins of an American Art
Complementary lectures by co-curators Enid Schildkrout and Dale Rosengarten trace the development of African American basketry. Fowler Museum members’ opening party follows.
Sunday, Oct 11, 2009 1–4 pm
Kids in the Courtyard: Woven Wonders
Join us for an afternoon of binding, twisting, curling, and coiling a variety of colorful materials into woven wonders of your own creation.
Wednesday, Oct 14, 2009 7 pm
Fowler OutSpoken Lecture: Jessica B. Harris: Carolina’s Gold
Noted culinary historian and acclaimed cookbook author Jessica B. Harris examines the African hand in the foodways of the South Carolina Lowcountry. Harris will compare and contrast selected recipes from both sides of the Atlantic and look at the African origins of some Lowcountry culinary traditions, including holiday fare and street vending.
Thursday, Oct 29, 2009 6 pm
Exhibition Tour: African American Life on the Gullah/Geechee Coast: Photographs by Greg Day, 1970-1977
Photographer Greg Day discusses his works.
Thursday, Oct 29, 2009 7 pm
Fowler OutSpoken Lecture: Judith Carney: Black Rice: The African Antecedents of the Carolina Rice Plantation Economy
Judith Carney, UCLA professor of geography, draws attention to the agricultural and culinary history of African food crops in the Americas, examining the indigenous rice of West Africa and the role of enslaved rice farmers in establishing an African dietary preference.
Sunday, Nov 1, 2009 11 am–2:30 pm
Food Program: Sweet Tea and Sticky Rice
Explore Steeped in History: The Art of Tea and Grass Roots: African Origins of an American Art with museum educator and chef Maite Gomez-Rejón. Discover the trade routes, beliefs, and stories related to tea and rice, from Asia to Africa through Europe to the United States. Then, inspired by the in-gallery conversation, cook and enjoy a meal that incorporates food from China, India, England, East Africa and the American South. $40 members; $50 non-members. Reservations required: 310/825-8655.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009 12 pm
The Fowler’s director of education Betsy Quick highlights the distinctive basketry on view in Grass Roots: African Origins of an American Art.
Sunday, December 6, 2009 1–4 pm
Kids in the Courtyard: Round-Reed Baskets
At this afternoon of basket weaving, we’ll begin with a basic basket start and then learn the process of weaving reeds over and under until your take-home baskets take shape.