Dr. Leo Twiggs who lives and works in South Carolina, is one of the region’s most significant artists whose paintings have long dealt with the South’s difficult racial history. He conceived of this moving nine-painting series, Requiem for Mother Emanuel, as a response to the tragic events of June 17, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina.
In this cycle, Twiggs, in the words of Furman professor Dr. Courtney Tollison Hartness, sought to cope with “not only the horrors of the event,” but also to create an “outlet for his amazement as South Carolinians united in grief and the Confederate battle flag was removed from the State House grounds.” Twiggs himself states: “My paintings are a testimony to the nine who were slain. But I also record another moment: our state’s greatest moment . . . a response that moved us from tragedy to redemption. For one shining moment we looked at each other not as different races but as human beings.”
The cycle was recently on view at The Johnson Collection in Spartanburg, S.C., where it drew national attention. The Mint Museum’s President & CEO, Dr. Kathleen V. Jameson, noted that her institution had been considering hosting the Twiggs exhibition since August; however, recent events in Charlotte served to “cement the Mint’s commitment and have deepened and underscored our museum’s ongoing mission to utilize art as a means of fostering an open dialogue about critical issues facing our community.”