Samantha Claar to showcase her recent work at Art League Gallery

Women’s Jubilee

Samantha Claar’s work portraying the Gullah-Geechee lifestyle will be on view this July and August at Art League of Hilton Head. The boldly colored paintings, often painted on recycled or salvaged materials, are inspired by Claar’s dreams or “nighttime roamings.” “They visited and demanded that I paint what they were showing me…We argued about this for a long time because I had never painted a human figure…but they were very sure. That is how my love for the Gullah-Geechee and their unique culture was born.”

Claar is a self-taught artist who began painting in her 40s. She joined the art scene on Tybee Island in the 1990s, where she opened a gallery with a friend. Once she began dreaming of the Gullah-Geechee and their stories, she educated herself about the people and their history so she could better “paint the stories” and, in turn, educate the people who visited her gallery and had a desire to know more. In 2012, she opened Fine Folk Galleries, the first Gullah art market in Savannah’s City Market 

Claar celebrates the Southern lifestyle that can be traced back to Gullah contributions. The cities built with

Indigo Harvest

their labor, their foods, their knowledge of the sea and tide, of fishing methods and sustainable use of land and sea. “Trace our ‘Southern roots’ and there you find the G-G as the root system that made it all possible,” she says.

“I want you to take this with you: Wow! I never realized, assimilated, or understood just how much my life was impacted by the introduction of the Gullah-Geechee and the rich, vibrant culture that they crafted in the midst of unspeakable conditions…While looking at my work: I want you to experience the joy of being a fellow human with these remarkable people.”

Painting the Stories runs July 23 through August 23. An opening reception will be held Wednesday, July 24, 5-7pm. Claar will also host a Gallery Walk on Thursday, July 25, at 11am, where she will discuss her work, influences, and processes. The exhibit, reception and gallery walk are free and open to the public. 

Art League Gallery is located mid-island inside Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, 14 Shelter Cove Lane, Hilton Head Island, 843.681.5060.