'From Whence I
The 'From Whence I Came Art Exhibit' is a reflection of the spiritual journey of people of African Descent, as told from the Gullah Geechee perspective, through the art of cultural artist Sonja Griffin Evans. Gullah is a unique culture of enslaved West Africans who inhabit the Sea Islands of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida prior and since the Civil War. One of Congressman James E. Clyburn’s proudest achievements in the Congress was authoring the legislation that established the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor and created a commission to help federal, state, and local authorities manage the Corridor and its assets. Designated by Congress in 2006, the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor extends from Wilmington, North Carolina in the north to Jacksonville, Florida in the south.
Griffin Evans’ exhibit is a glimpse into their culture, their heritage and their traditions. This special exhibition captures the movement of a people through many symbolic doors beginning with a journey of the unknown through the ‘Door of No Return’ (the last door the Africans went through before boarding the slave ships); facing a life of bondage, violence, despair and oppression. The ‘From Whence I Came Exhibit’ is an expression of the ability of a people to maintain the strength, faith and determination, in spite of the many adversities laid before them, to endure and to overcome. It is an emotionally moving and inspiring exhibit of art that takes you on a spiritually enlightening journey; telling stories and sharing wisdom from the ancestors that encourages us to understand that by denying people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity. This exhibition allows us to experience a glimpse of the newly freed enslaved Africans’ path through ‘Freedom’s Door’-walking into a new way of life, while struggling to preserve their identity, customs and traditions in a new world. Then painstakingly allows us to visualize opening, ‘The Door of Emancipation’ which forces us to come to the realization that none but ourselves can free our minds from mental slavery, as quoted by Marcus Garvey. The ‘From Whence I Came’ exhibit effectively illustrates how crucial it is to define what we mean by freedom, so that we know what we’re looking for and what we’re hoping to attain. An exhibit comprised of nearly 40 original pieces of artworks by Sonja Griffin Evans that encourages us to find peace with God and all mankind.