About the Artist - Sonja Griffin Evans

Artist0221April 2021 Issue
About the Cover Artist — Sonja Griffin Evans
By Kelly Hunter

This is the first time Beaufort native and US Army veteran Sonja Griffin Evans’ work has appeared on our cover, but we doubt it will be the last. The self-taught artist started painting as a form of therapy and hopes her work will “continue to help encourage and inspire others.” Sonja often incorporates found objects into her art, which allows her to “see the figures embedded in the material—to unlock the beauty and the story that lies within.”

This month’s cover, “Long Road Home II,” was commissioned by a collector who inquired about purchasing a painting they loved. Unfortunately, the original had already sold, so they asked for something similar. Sonja discussed size, materials, colors and other details with them. Throughout the process of creation, Sonja “sent images of the painting at different stages to the collector so they could see the progress of their piece—the birth of their baby.”

The resulting work is an excellent example of traditional Gullah painting style, which features vibrant colors. When asked how a community that has faced and overcome great struggles can produce such hopeful art, Sonja said, “The magic word is ‘Overcome.’ Art plays a critical role in inspiring and giving voice to a people. Gullah art not only helps to preserve our culture, but for me, it is also a way to honor and give thanks to our ancestors, who have paved the way for us. The vibrancy of the colors keeps alive one’s faith and a radiant hope for the future.”

Sonja, who is the first Gullah woman to tour her artwork solo to three French cities, has painted in varied styles beyond the traditional Gullah. Her Naturally Me Kidz series was inspired by her little niece’s love for her natural beauty. She applauds her niece’s “positive attitude and her desire, at such an early age, to be an example for others to love and embrace themselves the way that God created them.” Sonja wants the series to help little girls of color believe and say, “It’s okay to be naturally me.”

The Vote series was inspired by a quote from Congressman John Lewis: “The vote is the most powerful non-violent tool we have.” Sonja had the honor of presenting the Congressman with a piece of her art in Washington, DC. She believes “the best way to honor someone is to continue their works. Knowing the blood, sweat and tears that was shed for me, and so many others, to have the right to vote, I created The Vote series as a visual continuation of that great work.”

Follow Sonja Griffin Evans’ artwork on Facebook: “The Art of Sonja Griffin Evans,” or Instagram: @sonjagriffinevans. Prints of “Long Road Home II”, prints and originals of other works, and many other products featuring Sonja’s artwork are available through www.sonjagriffinevans.com. To see or purchase Sonja’s art in person, visit Red Piano Art Gallery in Bluffton, SC.

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