SAVANNAH, GA – April 29, 2021 – The Savannah African Art Museum (SAAM) is inviting the community to join them in a range of family-friendly events this May. On Sunday May 2, 2021 SAAM will participate in the Georgia History Festival’s Super Museum Sunday by opening to visitors from 12 noon – 3 p.m. While entry is always free of charge, the museum is usually open Wednesday – Saturday. Commencing on May 5, SAAM will be extending visiting hours by one hour a day so the museum will open from 12 noon – 5 p.m., every Wednesday – Saturday except major holidays.
SAAM is also slated to host its first onsite workshop since closing in March 2020 due to the pandemic. The free workshop will take place from 11 a.m. -12:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 8 in the museum’s courtyard, located at 201 East 37th Street. SAAM Docent Connie Williams will guide participants through the process of working with beads while sharing a brief history of African beading. Participants will have the choice of making bracelets using recycled glass beads from Ghana, made by a group known as the Krobo people; glass trade beads from Nigeria; terracotta beads from Mali; or Bone Batik hand-dyed beads, using a wax relief process, from Kenya.
Participants are encouraged to take a tour of the museum to view some of SAAM’s intricate beaded artwork on exhibit. The museum holds a collection of over 1,000 objects that hail from West and Central Africa and represent over 180 cultures across 28 countries.
Williams conducts West & Central African Tours at the SAAM. She has applied her diverse leadership experience in banking, finance, international business relationships. For most of her career, she has worked in the public sector in business and international relations. Traveling within Africa for a decade helped her to see the real need for training, coaching and business support to assist the women and young adults. For the past 10 years she shared responsibility for business development and community programs in the village of Kpanvo, located in Northern Region of Tamale Ghana, West Africa where she was appointed Chief in 2009.
Williams is the Founder and CEO of Savanna Naturals Inc., a small business focused on natural products with an understanding and appreciation of how products are produced in Ghana and throughout the Savanna region of Africa. Leading by example and excellence are innate to who Williams is. Her ultimate motivation is to help uplift rural women while creating business opportunities that will impact their lives and families in a positive way.
On Saturday, May 29 from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., the museum will hold its previously postponed “The Healing Tree: A Visual Storytelling Workshop” in the museum’s courtyard, located at 201 E. 37th St. in Savannah. 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 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.
“We’re looking forward to, once again, being able to welcome people into the museum to participate in our educational workshops and excited about extending our opening hours and participating in Super Museum Sunday,” said Billie Stultz, SAAM’s founding executive director and chief curator. “We’ve implemented important precautions and specific sanitary measures, which our museum staff will adhere to in order to ensure the health and safety of visitors.”
Registration is required via Eventbrite to attend these free workshops and space is limited to 15 people per workshop. Register to attend these workshops at https://www.savannahafricanartmuseum.org/
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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