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Missed The Black Art Exhibit At Charleston County Library? There’s Another One Coming To North Charleston Soon
3/3/2017 3:12:47 PM

Torreah “Cookie” Washington
Staff Reports - Art exhibits featuring work that emphasize black cultural experiences are rare in Charleston. And if you missed Catherine Lamkin’s “We Who Believe” exhibit that just ended at Charleston County Main Library, there will be another opportunity before the International African American Museum is slated to open in two years. Torreah "Cookie" Washington will curate the 11th Annual African American Fiber Art Exhibition: Move on Up and Reach the Higher Ground, a component of the 2017 North Charleston Arts Fest.

Washington is an award-winning and nationally exhibiting textile artist with over 25 years of experience, specializing in quilted fiber art murals. She curated last year’s black art exhibit inspired by the nine murders at Emanuel AME Church that was featured at the Chase Building in downtown Charleston. Lamkin’s work also was featured in that exhibit. That experience inspired Lamkin to curate the “We Who Believe” exhibit.

In honor of African American History Month Charleston County Library presented “We Who Believe”. The exhibition ran February 1-28, 2017 with an opening reception February 6. Seven African American artists were featured in the exhibition. Textile artists; Lenora Brown, Arianne King Comer, Jacqueline Johnson, Catherine Lamkin and Torreah Cookie Washington; Oil Painter: Natalie Daise and photographer Michael Davoud Sanders contributed to the exhibit. The artwork was a reflection of the experience of African American life in America and in Africa. Lamkin said the art included stitches of hope, oil paintings depicting strokes of the Civil Rights Movement, and photographic images that told the stories of a people. The title of this exhibition was based on a quote from the late great civil rights activist Ella Baker. “We Who Believe in Freedom Will Not Rest”.

Lenora Brown's Nelson Mandela’s artquilt was a testimony to the spirit and resilience of Nelson Mandela's unbroken spirit under Apartheid. The vibrant blueness in Torreah Cookie Washington's artquilt evoked the calmness of the goddess of the midnight sky and early morning dawn.  Michael D. Sanders' photography captured the essence of a bond between mother and daughter. Arianne King Comer's Piece of Peace reflected the ancient art of batik and indigo, which was first grown in the 1600's in South Carolina by enslaved Africans. Catherine Lamkin's Ms. Negro History was a tribute to Carter G. Woodson and a history of a people, through the use of African American Stamps.

While the exhibit won’t be shown again, Lamkin said she hopes the exhibit encourages artists to create social justice art as a form of resistance. There are many ways to resist, she noted.

The 2017 African American Fiber Art Exhibition, organized and presented by the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department May 3-7, offers African American fiber artists a unique opportunity to showcase to exhibit their original and innovative designs. The theme for this year's exhibition is inspired by the inspirational music of the 1970's that sought to unify and lift the spirit of our nation, specifically songs such as Stevie Wonder's Higher Ground and Move On Up by Curtis Mayfield. The challenge for this special exhibit is for artists to create a fiber work, such as an art quilt, doll, wearable art piece, etc., that explores the ideas of creating a better world, journeying toward self-awareness, and ascending to a position of loving acceptance of all citizens.

Following the close of the show, up to twenty works will be selected to tour the state through the South Carolina State Museum's 2017/2018 Traveling Exhibitions Program. Sites across South Carolina may request the exhibit to tour in their facilities, thus providing additional exposure for the selected artists.

The deadline for submission of entries is Wednesday, March 1, 2017. Applications are accepted and processed through SlideRoom, an online platform. If you need assistance completing your application, contact our office at 843-740-5854 or  

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