The Daufuskie Island Project will elevate the story and raise awareness about the Gullah community and its contributions to American history using a multi-pronged approach. The limited edition portfolio, Daufuskie Island, is a collection of fifteen black and white pigment print photographs originally taken more than twenty-five years ago. The images include portraits of residents, home interiors, landscapes,
and still lifes of objects, which together seek to convey a holistic impression of Gullah culture at the time.
The intention is to situate these portfolios in the collections of historically Black colleges, institutions, libraries or museums, where they can serve a larger population as a public resource. Moutoussamy-Ashe is also considering making arrangements to lecture or visit the places where the portfolios end up housed to raise awareness about the contents. To supplement the portfolio and lectures and to help create a digital presence, she will create new video montages using the images and incorporating new footage, both of her own remembrances and of people from the island. Additionally, she is in the early stages of creating an interpretive performance about Daufuskie Island.
Lastly, the project will require a place online to specifically house these endeavors and information about them. The website for the Daufuskie Island project, and accompanying social media accounts, will be an important avenue for disseminating the video montages, information about performances or other events and educating visitors. Some of the proceeds from the project will support a need-based scholarship for Gullah descendants called the Daufuskie Island Gullah Scholarship Fund (DIGS).
Photographer Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe has devoted many years to civic causes in health, arts education and urban issues. While pursuing her primary profession as a photographer, she produced a body of work that focuses on the social ramifications of the historical outcomes of slavery, the expressly intimate moments of a family in the face of personal tragedy and a broad engagement of the history of photography. Her work has appeared in Life, Smithsonian, Sports Illustrated, Ebony, Essence, People and The New York Times and has been shown in solo and group exhibitions around the world, including The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., Galerie Herve Odermat in Paris, France, The Excelsior in Florence, Italy and The Leica Gallery in New York City. She is the author of five books, including the 25th Anniversary Edition of Daufuskie Island: Photographs by Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, which won the 2008 Essence Literary Award in Photography.
Ms. Moutoussamy-Ashe is a director of the Arthur Ashe Endowment for the Defeat of AIDS, a former Trustee of The Cooper Union as well as a current member of the President’s Council. She also founded the nonprofit Arthur Ashe Learning Center and website www.ArthurAshe.org which are now at University of California Los Angeles. She has lectured at various educational and cultural institutions around the country, in addition to teaching photography to high school and college level students, and has recently completed residencies at Montalvo and Yaddo. In 1995, President Clinton appointed her as an alternate representative of the United States to the United Nations General Assembly. She studied at The Art Institute of Chicago from eight years of age and earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts from The Cooper Union.