African Origins of
an American Art
*This exhibition has completed its tour and is no longer in circulation. These pages are included for archival reference only.
Grass Roots: African Origins of an American Art traces the parallel histories of coiled basketry in Africa and America, and explores the contemporary evolution of an ancient craft in a global economy.
Featuring baskets from the lowcountry of South Carolina and Georgia, as well as from diverse regions of Africa including Senegal and South Africa, Grass Roots examines the origins of the African-American coiled basketry tradition on American shores, from the domestication of rice in Africa two millenia ago, through the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and the Carolina rice plantation, and then into the present day. Organized by the Museum for African Art in New York City The Museum for African Art in New York City, in collaboration with the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture in Charleston, SC and co-curated by Enid Schildkrout (Chief Curator, Museum for African Art ) and Dale Rosengarten (Curator and Historian, College of Charleston), Grass Roots highlights the remarkable beauty of coiled basketry and shows how a utilitarian object can become both a masterwork of fine craft and a container of memory and collective history. To view the Museum for African Art's schedule for the larger Grass Roots exhibition tour, click here.