Telfair Museums’ Friends of African American Arts presents 'Vessels: the Things We Carry'

Telfair Museums’ Friends of African American Arts (FAAA) presents “Vessels,” a group exhibition that pays tribute to the things we hold and the things that carry us. The exhibition is up at the Savannah Cultural Arts Center Gallery from Sept. 2 - Oct. 8.

The exhibit “The Art of William O. Golding: Hard Knocks, Hardships and Lots of Experience” was the inspiration and basis for the exhibit “Vessels.” William O. Golding (1874-1943), was an African-American seaman and artist who recorded a half-century of maritime experience in more than one hundred vibrant drawings.

“I'm the curator. Antonia B. Larkin is the exhibition designer. We decided to proceed with vessels thinking about the theme of William O. Golding artwork. Him being a seaman and then also figuratively thinking about what are the things that we carry,” said artist and FAAA 2nd vice chair Sharonna “Ronnie” Ray.

The idea for “Vessels” deeply formed out of the trip that FAAA took to Dorchester Academy back in April. The academy was the first school for African Americans in Liberty county, founded by Golding’s father, William A. Golding (Golden). 

“When you think of his history and FAAA history and how it advocates for artists of color and putting out the work of African American artists we wanted to build on our legacy. We are a diverse group and this exhibition explores that through the perspective of our 31 participating artists,” said Ray.

This is one of FAAA's first shows anchored to a theme. Usually various artists can submit a variety of work to a general exhibition but this FAAA wanted to challenge artists to focus on a theme and they hope to do more shows like this in the future.

“The selection process was slightly difficult just because of the amount of submissions that we got and their relevance to the theme. Also, we only have so much space and availability, and so I was very pleased with the submissions that we received and even the different disciplines,” said Ray.

The works range from paintings, jewelry, sculptures and more. FAAA hopes to continue to display shows at the Savannah Cultural Arts Center and expand to other places as their membership is growing. A membership that is open to artists and art lovers.

There was an opening reception and artist talkback for “Vessels” on Friday, Sept. 9.  There will be two ‘Artist Show & Tells’ one with Nancey B. Price on Saturday, Sept. 17 at 3 p.m. and one with Olivia Johnson on Saturday, Sept. 24 at 3 p.m.. There will be an artist roundtable on Saturday, Oct. 8 at 3 p.m.

“Nancy Price and Olivia Johnson are both FAAA artists. Nancy Price is a self taught collage artist. She's educated, but she's also self taught in the field of collage and Olivia Johnson, she recently finished her artist residency at Penland in June, and that is where she created her piece for Vessels,” said Ray.

See”Vessels” during the gallery hours and all events are free though pre-registration is required for the ‘Artist Show & Tells’. Find out more about “Vessels” at savannahga.gov/arts.