Rawn McCloud
Rawn McCloud
Rawn McCloud
Rawn McCloud
Rawn McCloud
Rawn McCloud
Rawn McCloud
Rawn McCloud
Rawn McCloud

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RM_1. Brown Rice
RM_2. Coast of Babel
RM_3. Cus
RM_4. If You Dont Know
RM_5. Lemy
RM_6. My Indigo Heart
RM_7. Pink And Gray Gate
RM_8. Reaching
RM_9. Red And Yellow Gate

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“These works reflect my ongoing fascination with the creation of the Gullah language and culture of the South Carolina and Georgia Sea Islands. They can be viewed as mnemonic devices for a process that can only be re-remembered through imagination. Layers of unreadable text are a visual representation of the overlapping of language, sign, and symbol to create new methods of communication. Through research, I’ve also discovered that African Muslims, such as Omar Ibn Said, were included in this process. Arabic looking text has been incorporated to represent their presence. These works also attempt to bridge an ocean of loss of collective memory through metaphor, imagination and dreaming.”



Having traversed many lands as a child; places as distinct as Harlem to France, Rawn’s unique imagery incorporates elements of text, symbol and pattern combined with subtle effects of color and design. In his current series of work, the artist searches for an understanding of a cultural past and enduring cultural legacy involving the people, the land, and the fascinating political history of the South Carolina and Georgia Sea Islands. He follows in the tradition of Eldzier Cortor and other fascination of anthropologists and folklorists who have studied the unique cultural heritage of the Gullah-Geechee people who the Sea Islands home.

Rawn’s point of departure is the particular form of agrarian economy that developed in the low country of South Carolina. Rice, which was introduced around 1689 and later indigo, the crop from which indigo dye is made, were imported from West Africa and flourished in the marshy tidewater area, fueling the impressive economic rise of the low country economy and making its inhabitants among the wealthiest in North America. The extraordinary performance of the low country economy, however, was inextricably bound to African slavery.

Rawn carefully avoids a realist tendency to document the people and culture, though he is quite capable of working in a narrative vernacular. His studies shine a spotlight on how elements survive, thrive and influence other cultures in the new world. He does this through the visual metaphors of rice and indigo and deftly guides his progression from the contemplation of the agrarian roots to other aspects of African survival or African retention, which include language patterns and even the metalwork in the graveyard decoration. McCloud’s “gate” pieces are inspired by the late legendary Charleston blacksmith, Philip Simmons, whose decorative ironwork decorate many prominent Charleston homes, churches and public spaces.



1980 B.A.; California State University, Hayward, CA



2009 National Black Fine Art Show; NY

2008 National Black Fine Art Show, NY United States Embassy Art in Embassies Exhibition, Freetown, Sierra Leone

2007 National Black Fine Art Show; NY "Breaking Ice":Bay Area Artists Consider the African Diaspora ARTworkSF, San Francisco, CA Avisca Fine Art, Atlanta, GA

2006 National Black Fine Art Show; NY

2005 National Black Fine Art Show; NY PRO ARTS East Bay Open Studios, Oakland, CA

2004 National Black Fine Art Show; NY

2003 National Black Fine Art Show; NY

2002 National Black Fine Art Show; NY

1995 Nexus Contemporary Art Center, Atlanta, GA Magic City Art Connection, Birmingham, AL