Gallery of Fine Art Photography - Atlanta GA

dialogue

Southern Heritage – 500 Years In The Making

Lumière’s new exhibition Southern Heritage – 500 Years In The Making uses photography as a metaphor for the Heritage of the American South.
It reflects the intersection of Christianity & Islam; European Aristocracy & Commoners; Colonists & Native Peoples; Agriculture, Arms & Disease; Tolerance & Intolerance. One of unintended consequences from the interaction of people, animals, plants and microbes.
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Trade Routes, (circa 1670-1730)

Trade Routes, (circa 1670-1730)

The starting point is 500 years ago with the birth of Henry VIII and Columbus’ discovery of Hispaniola. At that time, “the Muslim world was larger, wealthier, more powerful and more scientifically advanced.”1 The Europeans’ ambitions led them around the cape of Africa to the “East” Indies and across the Atlantic to discover the “West” Indies: then to the main lands. The map illustrates the extensive trade routes that evolved.
In the Americas, it began a 200 year period of Spanish colonial occupation of Florida. The French yielded to the Spanish in favor of Canada and the Mississippi River territories… opening the door for the English on the Atlantic coastline north of Florida.
By the time Raleigh and Smith arrived in Virginia, there were 2.2 million native peoples who had occupied North America for some 15,000 years. Theirs was a successful, geographically dispersed society. One with extensive trading arrangements…and almost 375 languages.
English colonization was sparked by merchant promoters. Shown below is the skyline of Charleston… founded in 1670 by planters from Barbados.
Skyline - Charleston, South Carolina

Skyline – Charleston, South Carolina

In 1733, Oglethorpe founded the Georgia Colony at Savannah. It became the first planned city in the U.S. with some 20 parks. The colony was the only one to ban slavery, focusing instead on “charity colonists”.
Forsyth Park, Savannah, Georgia

Forsyth Park, Savannah, Georgia

What was an economic boom for Europe was a disaster for Native Americans due to aggressive exploitation. When disease decimated European indentured servants and native Indian slave labor, it led to expansion of the African slave trade dominated by the Portuguese and English, with New England also profiting greatly.
The struggle for land, labor and capital influenced the development of the Caribbean, and later the American South. This new economy was driven by the demand for tobacco, sugar, rice, timber and clothing in Europe. It was reinforced by ship building and the carry trade of New England.
Mountain Farm, North Carolina

Mountain Farm, North Carolina

As colonists moved inland – first to the Piedmont, then to Appalachia – a new backcountry culture evolved – including interaction with the Cherokee and other tribes.
The exhibition tells the story of the Indian Civilization, Explorers & Colonists, Conflict, Commerce, Religion and Art… as well as the Colonists as Pioneers.
Featuring the photography of Tim Barnwell and Thomas Neff. Also including works by Edward Weston, Dorothea Lange, Peter Sekaer, Berenice Abbott and Arnold Newman.
1 Source: Alan Taylor, University of California
See a portion of the exhibition here: Southern Heritage.
Posted in: a Deeper Look

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