"The Silver Slipper Club" by Jonathan Green Jonathan Green (b. 1955)
The Silver Slipper Club
Oil on canvas
100 x 65½ inches
Museum purchase; 1994.007

Jonathan Green's art documents the way of life, the traditions, and the customs of the now vanishing Gullah community of Gardens Corner, located north of Beaufort, South Carolina, where his grandmother raised him as a child. Gullah refers to a population of African Americans living on the South Carolina and Georgia Sea Islands. Relatively isolated from the larger population of the mainland of the United States, African Americans living on these islands preserved the language and customs of their West African heritage.

The Silver Slipper Club captures a moment typical of a nightclub of the same name during the late 1950s and early 1960s. Although he did not witness the scene directly, Green had heard stories about the Silver Slipper Club. Green's choice of brightly colored and large-patterned clothing echoes the liveliness and enthusiasm of a room filled with people dancing and celebrating. In his color, style, and technique, Green shows us what it might be like to step in the Silver Slipper Club. In fact, because he does not individualize his figures with facial features, he makes the Gullah community seem more universal, and he invites us to be a part of the group.