The City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department announced Bluffton, SC, artist Amiri Geuka Farris, as the winner of the 2014 North Charleston Arts Festival Design Competition. As the winner of the statewide contest, Farris’ mixed media piece, titled “Gullah Islander Toss,” will be used to promote the 2014 North Charleston Arts Festival, taking place May 2-10. In addition, the piece will become part of the City’s Public Art Collection.
Farris’ design was selected from 53 entries by artists from across the state. The selection was made by a review panel appointed by the Cultural Arts Department who judged the entries based on quality, originality, appeal to festival patrons from a broad range of backgrounds, and ability to convey the spirit of the festival as a public celebration of arts and culture.
“Gullah Islander Toss” honors the traditions of the Gullah-Geechee culture and is also an attempt to draw a greater focus to “a celebration of history,” Farris said.
“You will see elements like dance and rejoicing with references to important cultural elements like the land, cast net making, throwing and artistic traditions,” he explained.The piece is composed of a number of layers that involve design elements such as Adinkra symbols, paint drips, and paint embellishments. The dynamism of these elements represents the passing of time and movement into the future. As with many of Farris’ other works, the piece refers to specific Gullah traditions and historic elements while blurring the boundaries between traditional and contemporary modes of representation.
An exhibition of his work, including the winning piece, “Gullah Islander Toss,” will be on display at the North Charleston City Gallery throughout the month of May 2014. The gallery is located within the Charleston Area Convention Center at 5001 Coliseum Drive in North Charleston, SC. Gallery hours are 9:00 am-5:00 pm daily, and admission and parking are free. The public is invited to meet the artist at the gallery on May 3 and 4 during the Main Event of the North Charleston Arts Festival. T-shirts and posters featuring the winning design will be available for sale.