Requiem for Mother Emanuel

By Chaunte McClure

As I stood in the gallery Monday night staring at the vivid images, my mood shifted from eager anticipation to mourning and my mind quickly reverted to the night of June 17, 2015, and the morning after.

I was viewing the iconic works of renowned South Carolina artist Dr. Leo Twiggs, who created nine paintings featured in Requiem for Mother Emanuel at the South Carolina State Museum. The nine works honor the nine church members who were murdered during Bible study at Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Each of their deaths come to life in Twiggs’ compelling paintings.Requiem for Mother Emanuel9

The Power of Art

Drenched in symbolism – from a blood-soaked Confederate flag to the Christian cross – his works carry a message of tragedy to forgiveness and redemption.

The paintings are a testament to the power of art because this series will grip your heart, stir your emotions and generate conversations.

Remembering and Coping

Every South Carolinian probably remembers where they were and what they were doing when they heard the heartbreaking news of the Emanuel A.M.E. Church shooting. It’s a memory that won’t soon fade away; one that many are still coping with after more than two-and-a-half years.

To help cope with the tragedy, Dr. Twiggs created nine vivid paintings which you can see at the South Carolina museum through April 29.

What You Will See

In addition to Twiggs’ nine batik works are items on display from Mother Emanuel including a hand-made prayer quilt which was created with patches from supporters from around the country and donated to the church after the tragedy.

If you go, you will watch a seven-minute video that features Dr. Twiggs who shares his inspiration for Requiem for Mother Emanuel.

Circles of Dialogue

You can also join the Circles of Dialogue, discussion groups offered on Feb. 20, March 20 or April 17 to explore reactions to this intriguing exhibit. Even if you’ve paid to see the exhibit on a different date, you can return to participate in the discussion groups on one of the reserved dates. Just RSVP for the Circles of Dialogue online or email group_visits@scmuseum.org.

Art Day: Honoring the Works of Dr. TwiggsRequiem for Mother Emanuel8

As a part of Art Day on March 10 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., the museum will highlight Dr. Twiggs’ work. Activities will include a gallery talk by Twiggs, music performances related to the exhibition, behind-the-scenes tours, hands-on family activities and more.

The Requiem for Mother Emanuel exhibit is free with museum general admission.