Permanent Collection

The Griots of Cotton, Indigo, & Clay Fiber Arts and Earth-Based Crafts Traveling Exhibition debuts the permanent collection of the Acres of Ancestry Initiative/Black Agrarian Fund, an evolution of the advocacy efforts of the Black Belt Justice Center. Featuring over 100 pieces of artwork commissioned by Black fiber artists and craftspeople in the South Carolina Lowcountry, the Black Belt South, and the African Diaspora at large, this vast array of textile art portrays the power of the Black imagination to extend beyond colonial frameworks, centering themes of Black agrarianism, ecological stewardship, and material culture. Carrying in its title a deep reverence for cultural knowledge keepers, Griots of Cotton, Indigo, & Clay explores the innovations of ecocultural techniques in appliqué, basket weaving, collage, indigo, and painting, celebrating an ecosystem of over 50 master fiber artists, ceramicists, sweetgrass basketweavers, and blacksmiths—many of them members of the Return of the Bees Quilt Collective. Charged with the mission to raise the visibility of and educate the public about the vast spectrum of Black textile arts and artists, the Return of the Bees Quilt Collective is a community of textile artists who primarily work out of their own homes or artist studios. The Quilt Collective provides its members with mutual aid, digital marketing support, and alternative exhibition spaces to prevailing colonial constructs and arrangements.