Two documentary films supported by SC Humanities will premiere in Charleston in June. Both films explore elements of Gullah culture and the art of sweetgrass basketmaking. Bin Yah: There’s No Place Like Home, sponsored by the Goodwill Development Corporation, will be shown as part of the Piccolo Spoleto Festival on June 3, 2008 at the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Downtown Charleston. Grass Roots: The Enduring Art of the Lowcountry Basket, produced by the Center for Documentary at the College of Charleston, will premiere at the Sweetgrass Cultural Arts Festival on June 5, 2008 at Laing Middle School in Mt. Pleasant, SC. Both documentaries received Major Grants from SC Humanities in February 2007.
Bin Yah: There’s No Place Like Home discusses the potential loss of historical African American communities in Mt. Pleasant, SC due to growth and development. These communities are home to the artisans who practice the traditional craft of coiled basket making carried to America from West and Central Africa. The struggle between the “Bin Yahs,” the Gullah-descended practitioners of this art, and the “Come Yahs” is poignantly and thoughtfully explored in this hour-long video. Screenings will take place as part of the Piccolo Spoleto Festival on June 3, 2008 at 11:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. at the Mother Emanuel AME Church on Calhoun Street. The screenings are free and open to the public.
Grass Roots: The Enduring Art of the Lowcountry Basket is a documentary film designed to air on SC-ETV but produced especially to accompany a major exhibition featuring Lowcountry and African baskets. Entitled Grass Roots: African Origins of an American Art, the exhibit is scheduled to open in Charleston at the Gibbes Museum of Art on August 29, 2008. The 30-minute video, based on dozens of hours of interviews with basket makers, portrays the state of the sweetgrass art today in Lowcountry South Carolina and places it in historical context. The film will premiere at the Sweetgrass Cultural Arts Festival on June 5, 2008 at Laing Middle School in Mt. Pleasant with a special showing for which reservations are required. For more information, contact 843-971-3564. Screenings that are free and open to the public will continue on June 6 and June 7. For more information and a full schedule, please visit the Web site of the Sweetgrass Cultural Arts Festival: http://www.sweetgrassfestival.org/.
The mission of SC Humanities is to enrich the cultural and intellectual lives of all South Carolinians. SC Humanities programs and initiatives are balanced, reflecting sensitivity to the diversity of ideas, encourage open dialogue, demonstrate integrity, and are ethical in operations.