Places for the Spirit: Traditional African American Gardens

Overview

Places for the Spirit is a stunning collection of over 80 documentary photographs of African American folk gardens — and their creators — in the Deep South (Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina). These landscapes have a unique historical significance due to the design elements and spiritual meanings that have been traced to the yards and gardens of American slaves and further back to their prior African heritage. These deceptively casual or whimsical foliage arrangements ...

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Overview

Places for the Spirit is a stunning collection of over 80 documentary photographs of African American folk gardens — and their creators — in the Deep South (Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina). These landscapes have a unique historical significance due to the design elements and spiritual meanings that have been traced to the yards and gardens of American slaves and further back to their prior African heritage. These deceptively casual or whimsical foliage arrangements are subtle and symbolic reminders of the divine in everyday life, the cycles of nature, and implied right and wrong ways to live. In the spirit of “outsider” art traditions, blues musical roots, and other such folk manifestations, these gardens have a unique aesthetic and cultural significance. Over 20 years in the making, this is the first collection of fine art photography to document this subject and, as such, it adds greatly to our understanding and appreciation of this disappearing element of African American culture.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Here is a book that is many things at once: a portfolio of black-and-white photographs of people and nature, a visual examination of gardens and gardeners, an exploration of a rarely documented aspect of the African American experience and folk culture. Photographer Sills traveled throughout the southern United States seeking gardens created and tended by African Americans. At first view, most of the gardens may seem quite ordinary, but Sills strives to capture the unique character of the plantings and accompanying ornamentation as expressions of the black gardeners' American experience. Commentary by the photographer and an introduction by her husband, author Lowry Pei (writing, Simmons Coll.), provide insight into the images. In their view, the gardens have a spiritual dimension, which can be traced back to African sources. VERDICT General readers interested in photography, gardening, or African American culture will find something of value in this volume.—Eugene C. Burt, Seattle
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595340641
  • Publisher: Trinity University Press
  • Publication date: 8/31/2010
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 1,063,305
  • Product dimensions: 11.30 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

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