Saundra Renee Smith

The Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor National Heritage Area, presents “HOW DA WADA KEPT OONA,” a Gullah Geechee art exhibition, in partnership with the Port Royal Sound Foundation Maritime Center. The exhibition is on display through May 29 at the Maritime Center located at 310 Okatie Highway, Okatie. The event is free and open to the public.

“HOW DA WADA KEPT OONA” provides a brilliant glimpse into the contemporary artwork of nine local and regional creatives, who share their connections with Gullah Geechee culture and their connections to our beautiful coastal waterways.

The exhibition incorporates creations from public and private collections, featuring

Clyde Williams

mixed media assemblages, photographs, poetry, and paintings by Mary Inabinett Mack, Saundra Renee Smith, Mahoganee Amiger, and Lisa Rivers of St. Helena Island, Clyde Williams of Beaufort, James Simmons of Burton, Amiri Geuka Farris of Bluffton, Quadre Stuckey of Mount Pleasant, and Quincy Howard of Columbus, Ga. The exhibition includes a small selection of limited-edition reproductions featuring the art of Jonathan Green.

Gullah Geechee Corridor Executive Director Victoria Smalls says the group is honored to present “HOW DA WADA KEPT OONA” to the public in partnership with the Port Royal Sound Foundation, an organization with a like-minded mission “to preserve the Port Royal Sound for environmental, cultural and economic well-being of our area.”

The Gullah Geechee people are descendants of Africans who were enslaved on the rice, indigo and Sea Island cotton plantations of the lower Atlantic coast. Many came with exper knowledge from the rice-growing region of West Africa.

The nature of their enslavement on isolated island and coastal plantations created a unique and beautiful culture with deep African retention that are clearly visible in the Gullah Geechee people’s distinctive arts, crafts, food, music, and language.

Amiri G. Farris

The Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor is a National Heritage Area managed by the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission. The National Heritage Area program is managed by the U.S. National Park Service.

National Heritage Areas are designated by Congress as places where natural, cultural, and historic resources combine to form a cohesive, nationally important landscape. The purpose of the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor NHA is to preserve, share and interpret the history, traditional cultural practices, heritage sites, and natural resources associated with Gullah Geechee people of coastal North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.