Dr. Leo Twiggs’ “Requiem for Mother Emanuel” series opens dialogue about racial conflict, tragedy, redemption, and forgiveness
The Mint Museum will host an exhibition of Dr. Leo Twiggs’ moving nine-painting cycle Requiem for Mother Emanuel . 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 the series, which he has described as dealing with one of the most difficult and important subjects he has ever undertaken, 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 after its impact on the coaches and captains of the Carolina Panthers NFL team. As Panthers’ captain Thomas Davis noted after viewing the exhibition in Spartanburg this summer, “I’m glad we had the opportunity to experience this. We know that seeing these paintings doesn’t change what happened, but I think it’s something that families can look upon and have a sense of relief knowing that they haven’t lost their family members in vain.” ESPN has produced a segment about the Panthers’ reaction to the exhibition which will air prior to the Panthers’ Monday Night Football broadcast on the evening of Monday October 10.
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 the museum’s ongoing mission to utilize art as a means of fostering an open dialogue about critical issues facing our community.”
The Twiggs exhibition will open at Mint Museum Randolph, 2730 Randolph Road, on November 23, 2016 and run through February 19, 2017. The museum is in the process of developing related programming accompanying the exhibition that will foster meaningful dialogue around the issues central to Twiggs’ art. The exhibition will be open during regular operating hours, which include four FREE hours of community access each Wednesday from 5-9 p.m. During other hours normal general admission fees apply.
MEDIA NOTE: Media are invited to preview the exhibition at 10 a.m. on Tuesday November 22. RSVP or send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.