Welcome to Samantha Claar’s Gullah Living
In 2008 I became acquainted with Gullah-Geechee people from the past. They visited and demanded that I paint what they were showing me. They told stories that were meant to be given life on canvas. We argued about this for a long time as I had never painted a human figure and I didn’t know why they thought I was the person for this task.
Starting the Gullah Living series required a leap of faith from me, but they remained very sure. Thus began my love affair with the Gullah-Geechee and their unique culture. My paintings sing their praises for I am an open heart and a willing brush for the glimpses I am given and the opportunity to introduce them to others.
Fast forward – painting, learning, educating about the culture. This led to a gallery show at S.P.A.C.E., sponsored by the Savannah Bureau of Cultural Affairs, and a show at the JEA Center. I won an award at the prestigious Telfair Art Show in 2012 and have been juried into many shows since: Atlanta Dogwood Festival, The Art Ob We the People on Hilton Head Island and the NIBCAA Gullah Festival to name a few.
Each venture is a learning and a teaching experience. I opened the first Gullah themed gallery at City Market in Savannah in 2012. This led to an influx of Gullah work in that artistic corridor.
Renee and Robert, the proprietors, stock all aspects of my work. ORIGINALS, GICLEES, PRINTS, CARDS, DOLLS, WEE PEOPLE AND THE GULLAH LANGUAGE ‘NEW TESTAMENT as well as selected books on the Gullah Geechee culture. They also host an aspiring artist each month as part of their commitment to the arts. They are now Savannahians via New York, so visit often.
2019 finds me returned to my family in Atlanta where I will continue painting and doing Festivals this year. From the very beginning I have called my work “Painting the Stories” as that is literally where I began and where I continue. I was given a mission and I do it to the very best of my ability. My paintings are kinder and gentler, coming from the ether, than my discourse on the history of these enslaved people who built might and wealth for a few in the Low Country. Their trials and tribulations did not separate them from the teachings they brought with them and the ones they embraced here. I want you to walk away with real history and a determination to share what you have learned. Perceptions have kept people apart and your perceptions will be altered when you allow the paintings to speak to you. It becomes a reminder to share the history and do the work for a better future that encompasses equality, fairness and reparation.
ART leads in many directions – ARTISTS are a funnel to make murals of what was – what can be imagined – what can be achieved. Paintings, music, poetry, sculpture, dance and dialogue help define a bigger and better awareness of each other. Join me at any/every FineFolk venue for an awakening and inspiration.
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