Bluffton S.C. Artist Amiri Farris is known for his dynamic, powerful artwork. His fine art combines an alluring blend of vivid colors and layered textures that evoke images of Sea Island Gullah culture. His artistic vision introduces us to uplifting moments and insight into his contemporary view of culture, capturing the essence of a people who have preserved their African traditions of net making, basket weaving, quilting and bateaux building.
Amiri’s signature style uses Adinkra symbols subtly in an African dress, a colorful turban or entangled in a shrimp net. These stimulate the eye to take in every inch of the canvas. The engaging layers invite you to look deeper into the painting, where empowering images and colors dance across the canvas in an energetic display of expression. Amiri says, “The Gullah Geechee people have preserved much of their African cultural heritage. It is very important that we tell the history of this unique sea island culture.”
Receiving a Masters of Fine Art and Design degree from the Savannah College of Art & Design, Amiri is currently a Professor of Fine Arts at the University of South Carolina Beaufort. His work has been exhibited and displayed in permanent collections nationally and internationally, including the Smithsonian Museum of American Art. Amiri has also served as a judge in numerous juried art shows. He was named 2008 Artist of the Year by the historic Penn Center on St. Helena Island, S.C. and is artist-in-residence at the Gullah Museum of Hilton Head Island, S.C. In 2012, Amiri was the co-recipient of a very prestigious award for preservation from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
This month’s Pink cover art is Amiri’s newest work, “Gullah Trail—A Celebration of History.” It showcases important Gullah Geechee cultural elements such as the land, storytelling, and other artistic traditions. Its indigo layers, paint drips and embellishments represent the passing of time and movement into the future. Amiri makes reference to specific Gullah traditions and historic elements, while blurring the boundaries between traditional and contemporary modes of representation.
Amiri’s next exhibition opens this month at the Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn on Hilton Head. The show entitled “The Heart of the Lowcountry” will feature unique paintings and installations based on themes of the Lowcountry. Opening reception will be Thursday, June 19th, 5:30 to 8pm. His art can also be viewed at Four Corners Gallery in Old Town Bluffton, S.C.