14 August 2007

Women of Inspiration

While researching online for my 'Zenobia: What's in a Name?' post, I came across an astonishing group of Gullah dolls by her namesake, Zenobia Washington. You don't know what Gullahs are? Neither did I.

The Gullah people (not dolls) are a distinctive group of Black Americans from South Carolina and Georgia, living in small communities along the coastal plain and on the chain of Sea Islands which runs parallel to the coast. Because of their geographical isolation, the Gullah have been able to preserve more of their African cultural heritage than any other group of Black Americans. They speak a creole language similar to Sierra Leone Krio and make African-style handicrafts.

Of which Zenobia's dolls are a remarkable example.

I especially like her Women of Inspiration series such as (above, left) 'A Woman Ruler' and (below, left) 'Black Butterfly Dancer'. I'm not normally a handicrafts sort of person but these vibrant concoctions of glass bottle, fabric, beads, and feathers are magical.

“My community is rich with wise women, healers, warriors, and black butterfly dancers," this Zenobia says. "My dolls pay respect and homage to the women that raised and continue to nurture me. Each one says thank you for keeping me grounded in a culture that is both my resting and rejuvenating place, my home, my self.”

I apologise for being side-tracked from ancient history, but I couldn't help myself. Anyway, these dolls, since they're female, inspired, and black, are a perfect introduction to Zenobia: What's in a Name?

You're see why this coming weekend, when I belatedly get that post up.

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