The City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs presents Homegoing: A Juried Exhibition, on view through January 29, 2023 at City Gallery and at the Cox Gallery at the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture.
Homegoing: A Juried Exhibition is presented as an extension of the MOJA Arts Festival’s National Endowment for the Arts Big Read. The Big Read — a partnership between the National Endowment for the Arts and Arts Midwest — broadens our understanding of our world, our neighbors, and ourselves through the power of a shared reading experience. Showcasing a diverse range of themes, voices, and perspectives, the NEA Big Read aims to inspire meaningful conversations, artistic responses, and new discoveries and connections in each community.
In 2022, the city of Charleston’s MOJA Arts Festival was selected as one of the community organizations nationwide designated to receive support for its programming. In collaboration with the Charleston County Public Library, the Black Ink Festival, and the Avery Research Center, the MOJA Arts Festival kicked off the NEA Big Read with Homegoing, a “novel about the legacy of chattel slavery by African-born writer Yaa Gyasi spanning eight generations.” It shows the parallel lives of two 18th-century Ghana-born half-sisters and follows their descendants through historical periods such as the American Civil War and the great Harlem Jazz Age.
For this NEA Big Read juried exhibition, South Carolina artists were asked to submit recent work highlighting themes from the book, including heritage and identity, family, progress, racism, and slavery. Jurors for the exhibition included:
- Dr. Tamara Butler, Executive Director of the Avery Research Center;
- Daron Calhoun II, Facilities, Outreach and Public Programming Coordinator and Race and Social Justice Initiative Coordinator; and,
- Djuanna Brockington, 2023 Black Ink Festival Committee member.
Selected artists include Brittany Alston, Indira Bailey, Karole Turner Campbell, Lee Garrard, Karyn Healey, Tyeisha Jenkins, Okeeba Jubalo, Ben Kelly, Alia Kroos, Catherine Lamkin, Robert Maniscalco, Ervin McDaniel, Richa Pokhrel, Anne Sbrocchi, Cynthia Sims, Lauren Sloan, LaToya Thompson, Keith Tolen, and Grace Womack.
As part of the NEA Big Read, the Charleston County Public Library hosted two special book club discussions in October, and the MOJA Arts Festival presented the premiere of a new dance work called “Origin” by the Harambee Dance Company. The dance work explores the connections between West Africa and the American South. More discussion groups are planned alongside special events with the Black Ink Festival and the Avery Research Center. The CCPL is circulating multiple print and digital copies of Homegoing, available for borrowing individually or in book club kits. To place a hold on the book or borrow it digitally, visit the CCPL catalog online, www.ccpl.org. Homegoing is also now available on Libby for FREE ebook borrowing for CCPL cardholders.