Exhibit honoring Emanuel Nine opens at SC State Museum

(Source: WIS)
(Source: WIS)

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - It's a series of nine paintings sure to touch the heart of every South Carolinian.

Artist Leo Twiggs, a South Carolina native who was born just 50 miles north of Charleston, began working on the series of paintings within weeks of the shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church in June 2015.

"It's redemption, it's slaughter," Twiggs said. "It's tears. It's all of those things."

His work now rests on the fourth floor of the South Carolina State Museum until April 29th, when the pieces will go to their respective new owners.

It's an exhibit the museum's art curator, Lori Kornegay, told WIS is sure to be awe-provoking for visitors of all ages.

"It's a way to just try to wrap your head around something so horrible and awful," Kornegay said. "And try to find the humanity and the experience in it. The symbols and signs in the pieces kind of change and shift as you walk through and see each of the nine pieces."

The first few pieces in the room feature targets, large bulls-eyes, and blood-ridden Confederate battle flags. As the paintings progress, the flag begins to fade toward the sixth work, which shows the state flag and a strong emphasis on Christian crosses.

"The viewer who looks at the work brings his own experiences to what the artist has produced," Twiggs said. "But Mother Emanuel is important because that is the place where so much of our history occurred."

Twiggs is referring to the history of African-Americans in Charleston and in the United States. He said he hopes this exhibit serves as a reminder past the Emanuel Nine - as a representation of African-American experience and perseverance.

"It's one of those things that because of the way that Leo approached it, it pulls people together," Kornegay said. "And I think that's a beautiful thing."

The exhibit opens Saturday at the South Carolina State Museum. 

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