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Cassandra Gillens

Updated: Mar 1, 2019

Artist 71

Cassandra Gillens Fauvism Gullah lifestyle

Cassandra Gillens resides in the Low Country of South Carolina, an area she cherishes. She is a self-taught artist. She uses the hues of paint to bring to life the traditions of the past and her love for people and culture of the American South.

Her work is inspired in part of her residing in the Low Country of South Carolina, an area she cherishes. Gillens was born and educated in Boston, Massachusetts.

Gullah is a term derived from African Americans who live in the Lowcountry region of the U.S. states of Georgia and South Carolina in both the coastal plain and the Sea Islands. They developed a creole language, the Gullah language, and a culture rich in African influences that makes them distinctive among African Americans.

Some Gillens earliest memories are drawing with colored chalks on the sidewalks of Roxbury; Massachusetts. These memories remain a part of her when she began to depicting her early childhood years in images of South Carolina. Upon her move to South Carolina, she was inspired to paint her visions of the Low Country’s comforting southern culture.

Cassandra is closely connected with the people and culture in this beautiful and historic land; her paintings depict some of her fondest memories as a child, and also of good old southern living and images of various life styles found on the Sea Islands. Her paintings show that love with vivid saturated color and simplification of forms keeping her true to style of fauvism.

Fauvism is were paintings are characterized by seemingly wild brush work and strident colors, while their subject matter had a high degree of simplification and abstraction.

Fauvism was originally an Eurocentric artistic movement that took and stole much from Oceanic and African art. Gillens recreation and ownership of this style reclaims it.

Cassandra Gillens was chosen by the historic Penn Center's York W. Bailey Museum to be the 31st Heritage Days Celebration Featured Artist and was commissioned to create a work of art depicting the Penn School story and the rich heritage of the Gullah people.

Penn Center is recognized as one of the nation's most significant historic and cultural institutions. The mission of Penn Center is to promote and preserve the history and culture of the Sea Islands and in doing this provides many public programs for the community at large.

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