Campus News

Book looks at African-American yard work

No Space Hidden: The Spirit of African-American Yard Work
By Grey Gundaker and Judith McWillie
University of Tennessee Press

No Space Hidden combines oral testimony, first-hand documentation of sites and artworks, insightful analysis and more than 200 photographs to explore ­African-American devotional arts centered in homes and domestic landscapes. The book is written by Judith McWillie, chair of UGA’s drawing and painting department, and Grey Gundaker, associate professor of anthropology and American studies at the College of William and Mary.

Focusing primarily, though not exclusively, on the southeastern U.S., the authors show how the artful arrangement and adornment of everyday objects and plants express both the makers’ own ­experiences and concerns and a number of rich and sustaining cultural ­traditions.

They identify a “lexicon” of material signs that are frequently and consistently used in African-American culture and art-including the all-seeing eye of the “diamond star,” the reflective surfaces that invoke divinity and the watcher figures that represent messengers of judgment and authority-and then show how such elements have been incorporated into various individual works and, most important, what they mean to the practitioners themselves.

McWillie will discuss and sign copies of No Space Hidden on Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. at Border’s Bookstore on Alps Road.