SAVANNAH, GA – APRIL 20, 2021 – The Savannah African Art Museum is planning its first on-site workshop since March 2020. On Saturday, April 24 from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., the museum will hold “The Healing Tree: A Visual Storytelling Workshop” in the courtyard garden, just outside the main building at 201 E. 37th St. in Savannah. Due to COVID-19 safety protocols, attendance is limited to 15 participants ages 6 and older, via Eventbrite registration.
The workshop, facilitated by visual and performance artists Kat Robertson, will focus on the universal art of storytelling, which exists in every culture and serves to pass on traditions, knowledge, history and experiences to new generations. Its presence in African culture goes back to ancient times and also plays a role in passing on codes of behavior and maintaining order in the community. This is accomplished by the gift of the storyteller who entertains, inspires, and engages audiences while educating them.
In African storytelling tradition, the storyteller does not merely share a story with an audience, they share an experience, making creative use of their vocal ranges, facial expressions, gestures, instrumentation, etc. Stories may include songs, chants poems, and prayers, and the audience may be invited to chime in. Storytellers in West Africa are known as a Griots (pronounced “gree·ows”). The role of a Griot is traditionally inherited, passed from one generation to the next. Griots’ roles as primary storytellers of their people was once also complimented with the role of serving as advisers to the king.
Robertson, a published poet and writer, said, “The global pandemic’s massive impact on the quality of our lives and all the events worldwide over this past year has revealed an especially important message. We as a nation and our planet as a whole need wellness; restoration and healing.”
She will ask workshop participants, “If words were a healing balm, which words would we bring to heal and re-unite us with each other and the world around us?”
Reflecting upon this question, each attendee will select a word, a color, a movement, and a sound that best represents this “balm” creating a visual montage. By combining various media – such as colored construction paper, fabric, paints, or photos from magazines – each participant will select their “word” of healing. Everyone will assign a sound and a physical movement to their word. When completed, each mosaic is in turn a piece of a unique whole story, “The Healing Tree.” With the visual words, sound, and movement combined, those present will see the complete visual story as an orchestrated presentation which will be videotaped. At the conclusion of the workshop, each participant will leave with their individual piece of art reflecting their telling of “The Healing Tree.” There will also be a link posted on the museum’s website to access the group’s visual presentation.
To register for the workshop, please go to https://www.savannahafricanartmuseum.org/the-healing-tree-workshop-2021/. Attendees need not bring anything other than their creativity. All materials, tables and chairs will be supplied. However, anyone who prefers to sit on the grass as they create may bring a blanket, sheet or towel.
To learn more about the museum, upcoming workshops, and the museum’s newest collections, please visit www.savannahafricanartmuseum.org and follow SAAM on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @SavannahAfricanArtMuseum.
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