Gullah Art Collection by Leroy Campbell

Artist Statement


As a young boy, I began creating as a way to help me recover emotionally from being teased about my birth defected hands. I am a self-taught artist. I am also a people person. Today creating art is my passion. My art gives me purpose and direction. It keeps me connected to people. It empowers me and allows me to tell my stories and the stories of my people and the community we shared.

In Charleston, South Carolina in the Gadston Green projects, where I grew up, we were a close knit community of Gullah and Geechee people. We shared, protected, cared for, and encouraged one another. I was told, “Don't forget where you come from." I didn't know then, that I was living in an African-influenced, village experience.

"The Gullah Collection", my latest body of work, is a collection that brings awareness about my people from Africa, who where enslaved, and brought to the Sea Islands of South Carolina and Georgia in the 1700's, where today we still maintain much of our African and cultural ways. By using a mixed media collage on canvas such as rich colors of acrylics, vintage fabrics from clothes, quilts, sweet grass basket bottoms, uncooked  rice, wood grained paper, rag paper, charcoal, fish nets, gels, stones and newspaper, it allows me to give you a taste of our rich history and culture.

"The Gullah Collection," features news print as its most dominant feature. My use of the newspaper signifies more than one denotation. On one hand, it represents my people’s rituals of witchcraft that by preparing the walls of their houses with news print protected them against and rid of curses and dangerous spirits. On the other hand, it serves as a time capsule. Upon a closer glance it triumphantly details the palpable, unwavering strength and perseverance of my people of African ancestry during the late 1800's through mid 1960's.

It is my hope that through this genre, the Visual Arts, you will join me and others, to help preserve this culture of great importance.

Oct 17, 2007



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