EXHIBITION MATERIALS

 
Route to resettlement_Mann Simons_Invitation.jpg
 
 

Exhibition Statement

By  honoring  southern  Black  oral  histories  and  narrative  patterns  in  music,  food,  textiles,  spiritualism,  and  other  cultural  customs,  the  works  in  this  installment  of  Route  to  (re)settlement  are  positioned  within  the  lineage  of  White  paternalistic  narratives  imposed  upon  Black  communities  and  individuals.  In  addition  to  examining  material  manifestations  of  Black  heritage,  the  interaction  between  the  works  and  the  Mann-Simons  Site  encourages  interracial  dialogue  about  the  site’s  history  as  a  center  of  temporal,  cultural,  and  spiritual  sustenance  for  its  community  for  almost  200  years.  The  site  also  invites  participating  artists  to  consider  racial  constructs  embedded  in  the  socio-political  systems  of  postcolonial  and  post-abolitionist  Africa  and  America,  respectively.  With  South  Carolina  as  the  nucleus  of  this  ongoing  exhibition  -  incorporating  various  sites  specific  to  Black  communities  for  three  centuries  -  two  patterns  emerge  when  prompting  discourse  around  the  exhibition’s  themes  and  the  influx  of  Africans  into  America:  historically  enslaved  and  contemporary  migration  related  to  modern  conflict  as  well  as  seeking  education  and  job  opportunities.


Participating Artists

Rashid Johnson

Born 1977 in Chicago, Illinois, Johnson lives and works in New York, New York. Working across media, Johnson’s practice is informed by art history, alchemy, mysticism, astronomy and divination. He creates sculptures and photographs through a synthesis of historical and material references to Black history that often results in a clutter of symbols and objects which consider personal, racial, and cultural identity. Echoing the history of the Mann-Simons Site and its inhabitants’ roles within the Black community of Columbia, SC for almost two centuries, Rashid Johnson’s assemblage, Planet, is an amalgamation of imagery and objects that reference art history, alchemy, mysticism, astronomy, and divination through a synthesis of art historical and material references to Black history. Johnson’s work is composed of ritualistic elements from this combined history - the patterns fostered by the traditions which define the cultural tapestry of a community like that which surrounds the Mann-Simons Site - and resonating with Johnson’s coming-of-age in 1980-90s Chicago.

Michi Meko

Born 1974 in Florence, Alabama, Meko lives and works in Atlanta, Georgia. Drawing from Southern culture and contemporary urban subcultures, Meko has developed a system of gathering, hybridizing, and remixing of content into a multilingual dialect that endows ordinary or rejected objects with historic and spiritual powers. He establishes a new - metaphysical identity by reworking iconography through physical and psychological conditions in proclamation of remembrance. Michi Meko endows banal discarded objects weighted with historical significance and spiritual powers. Reworking domestic objects from his family history, such as cooking vessels, Meko creates poignant narratives emphasizing the buoyancy of black culture despite continuous oppression — be it flagrant or clandestine. For Meko, establishing a new metaphysical identity for these objects is a proclamation of remembrance. and a nod to the archeological excavation of the Mann-Simons Site.

Henry Taylor

Henry Taylor is a Los Angeles-based artist, well known for his acrylic paintings, mixed-media sculptures, and installations. His most prevalent work is portraiture. His paintings expressively capture those who influence him: historical figures, family, and strangers alike. On his first visit to South Carolina, Henry Taylor gleaned moments from his trip, incorporating objects and peoples he encountered into assemblage paintings that activate the historical tapestry of the Mann- Simons Site. Oriented in his practice of culling from his family, friends, as well as figures from popular culture and history, Taylor captures idiosyncratic portraits of the socio-political landscape and of figures that occupy contemporary society. Taylor’s vibrant and spontaneous style conjures rhythms similar to the acoustic equivalent in blues and jazz, while his subjects’ composition evokes critical social acumen described within the lyrical genius of artists like Nina Simone and N.W.A.

Victoria-Idongesit Udondian

Born 1982 in Lagos, Nigeria, Udondian lives and works in New York, New York. Udondian trained as a tailor and fashion designer, informing her practice as a visual artist through her focus on textiles and the capacity of clothing to shape identity. Her sculptures, installations, performances, and photographs confront notions of authenticity and cultural contamination, particularly as patterns, styles and even second hand clothing oscillates across national borders blurring cultural references.Through her interactive, sculptural performance at the Mann-Simons Site, Udondion confronts notions of authenticity and cultural contamination, particularly as techniques, patterns, styles, and brands oscillate across borders and blur cultural references. Working with Charleston-based quilter Marlene O’Bryant- Seabrook, she constructed a community quilt with a group of elderly women living adjacent to the Mann- Simons Site. The patterns, techniques and modes of display are inspired by the historical mythology of quilts with traditional and contemporary quilting methods of Lowcountry textiles.

Fletcher Williams III

Born in Charleston, SC in 1987, Williams lives and works in North Charleston. Souvenir is a ceremony for the many victims of violent crimes who lived only blocks away from the city’s historic district. Williams memorializes those of the African American community afflicted by the reconditioning of the Lowcountry, a city of celebrated charm and dominant historic preservation. The realities of violence and social destruction are in stark contrast. As a means to represent the correlation of charm and decay Williams appropriates a local souvenir, the Palmetto Rose, creating works that serve as objects of beauty and indicators of violence. Within these works beauty and destruction are presented simultaneously, forcing the viewer into a cycle of empathy, fascination, horror, and concern. Juxtaposing them alongside the ambiguous scripture of the light boxes lends a shrine-like reference to his installation. Williams presents a selection of lyrics from songs by rappers Bun B and Boosie Badazz in Quad Black - a font he developed with an Islamic student he met while attending Cooper Union - centered within the frame, recalling Hebrew scripture while also detailing the struggle of black adolescents and adults and their coping mechanisms with racial profiling, violence and discrimination. The spiritual references and abstracted sociopolitical commentary lend the works a contemplative feeling.


Artist Checklist

Rashid Johnson

  Planet , 2014, Mirrored tile, black soap,wax, shea butter, vinyl 185.4 x 236.2 x 35.6 cm / 73 x 93 x 14 inches.

Planet, 2014, Mirrored tile, black soap,wax, shea butter, vinyl 185.4 x 236.2 x 35.6 cm / 73 x 93 x 14 inches.

Michi Meko

  Cast Iron Cruise Line  photos 1 & 2 30 x 22 inches (Top)  B lack Leakage: Cast Buckets , 2016, Galvanized steel buckets and gold leaf Unique, 30 x 9 1/2 inches (Bottom)

Cast Iron Cruise Line photos 1 & 2 30 x 22 inches (Top)

Black Leakage: Cast Buckets, 2016, Galvanized steel buckets and gold leaf Unique, 30 x 9 1/2 inches (Bottom)

  Stinger , 2016, Roasting pan, afghan, hornets nests, rhinestones, epoxy 48 x 12 inches (Top)   Magic , 2016 mixed media Red clay and Burlap 12" x 18” inches (bottom)

Stinger, 2016, Roasting pan, afghan, hornets nests, rhinestones, epoxy 48 x 12 inches (Top)

Magic, 2016 mixed media Red clay and Burlap 12" x 18” inches (bottom)

Henry Taylor

  Came in a plane, but the same, drowning Blues , 2016. Acrylic, canvas, matt medium, house paint on wood, vinyl, antique ship, Kanye TIME portrait by Scottie Lee and aluminum block letters, Dimensions variable

Came in a plane, but the same, drowning Blues, 2016. Acrylic, canvas, matt medium, house paint on wood, vinyl, antique ship, Kanye TIME portrait by Scottie Lee and aluminum block letters, Dimensions variable

  Spell , 2016. aluminum block letters, Dimensions variable

Spell, 2016. aluminum block letters, Dimensions variable

 Henry Taylor,  Victoria bla bla, Many makes One , 2016 Acrylic on canvas, 12 x 12 inches

Henry Taylor, Victoria bla bla, Many makes One, 2016 Acrylic on canvas, 12 x 12 inches

Victoria Idongesit-Udondian

 Victoria-idongesit Udondian,  Code (I) , 2016, Muslin, secondhand clothing, wonder-under, thread, waterbased Polyurethane, Dimensions variable

Victoria-idongesit Udondian, Code (I), 2016, Muslin, secondhand clothing, wonder-under, thread, waterbased Polyurethane, Dimensions variable

 Victoria-idongesit Udondian,  Code (II) , 2016, Muslin, secondhand clothing, wonder-under, thread, waterbased Polyurethane, Dimensions variable

Victoria-idongesit Udondian, Code (II), 2016, Muslin, secondhand clothing, wonder-under, thread, waterbased Polyurethane, Dimensions variable

 Victoria-idongesit Udondian,  Code (I) , 2016, Muslin, secondhand clothing, wonder-under, thread, waterbased Polyurethane, Dimensions variable

Victoria-idongesit Udondian, Code (I), 2016, Muslin, secondhand clothing, wonder-under, thread, waterbased Polyurethane, Dimensions variable

Fletcher Williams, III

 Fletcher Williams III , Boosie 3:19 and Bun 3:41 , 2015, Poplar, pine, handmade palmetto roses, laser-cut plexi, 20 x 24 x 3 inches

Fletcher Williams III, Boosie 3:19 and Bun 3:41, 2015, Poplar, pine, handmade palmetto roses, laser-cut plexi, 20 x 24 x 3 inches


Click the button below to view PDF file of Route to (re)settlement exhibition packet below