“A Requiem for Mother Emanuel” Opens at The Mint Museum

By Lashawnda Becoats

There were 14 people gathered in Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church for bible study. It was a Wednesday night in Charleston, S.C. Unfortunately most of us know what happened next.

“Requiem for Mother Emanuel” No. 7  by Dr. Leo Twiggs

Today, the exhibit “A Requiem for Mother Emanuel” opens at The Mint Museum on Randolph Road. The collection is a series of nine paintings by Dr. Leo Twiggs, who lives and works in South Carolina.

“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,” said Twiggs.

Art can be emotional and his interpretation of the tragic events of June 17, 2015 may leave some speechless and perhaps uncomfortable.

“I had to arrive at this work and let me tell you, it was a painful journey,” said Twiggs.

In his paintings he uses the cross, targets and the confederate flag, as a symbolic representations of spirituality and hate.

The paintings are created on cotton cloth using the batik method. Twiggs said it takes about a month to create each painting.

"Requiem for Mother Emanuel" No. 8 by Dr. Leo Twiggs
“Requiem for Mother Emanuel” No. 8 by Dr. Leo Twiggs the church.

“I had to take that journey from the hate, from the crime, from the tragedy to the redemption,” said Twiggs.

These heart wrenching, muted toned depictions start from the night of the scene inside the church.

Slowly, viewers may notice the blood and confederate flag is lessened throughout his works, until eventually transforming into a cross.

“A Requiem for Mother Emanuel” is a power and emotional exhibit worth viewing by everyone in the Charlotte community. These solid works are not only a reminder of an ugly and brutal part of American history but they represent the continued need to fight against racial and social injustice.

The exhibit will be on display until February 19, 2017. The museum will have special programming around the exhibition in February. The museum has free hours on Wednesdays from 5-9 p.m. For more information visit www.museum.org