In his art Jonathan Green paints the world of his childhood and an ode to a people imbued with a profound respect for the dignity and value of others―the Gullah people of the South Carolina barrier islands. His canvases, beloved for their sense of jubilation and rediscovery, evoke the meaning of community in Gullah society and display a reverence for the rich visual, oral, and spiritual traditions of its culture. His art also reveals a keen awareness of the interpersonal, social, and natural environments in which we live.
The 180 images assembled in this collection showcase the meaning, purpose, and beauty that Green finds in the small but critical tasks of life. His work elevates the everyday―preparing morning meals, doing the wash, accomplishing farming chores, finishing a day's work, relaxing in the evening―and celebrates the social and religious―community dances, baptisms, weddings, funerals. Green allows his audience the space and silence to observe people unobtrusively as they pursue life's mission of labor, love, and belonging and as they work in harmony with nature's mysterious, ever changing fabric.
While Green's paintings speak specifically to his own upbringing, they transcend racial, cultural, and ethnic boundaries, thus allowing individuals of all backgrounds to recall fond memories and to reflect on the place that purpose and dignity hold in their lives.
In addition to a foreword by Pat Conroy, essays by Bettye J. (Mbitha) Parker Smith, Lynn Robertson, and Ronne Hartfield complement Green's images. They tell of the vitality of the Gullah community, the progression of Green's career, and the authenticity of his work.