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College of Arts & Sciences
McKissick Museum

Crafting Civil (War) Conversations

February 5 - May 30, 2015, 2nd floor, North Gallery

Crafting Civil (War) Conversations commemorates the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War with a juried exhibition of contemporary art. The Museum invited artists from across the Southeast who work in what historically have been regarded as craft-based media--clay, fiber, glass, metal and wood--to imagine the Civil War’s end as a scene of reconciliation—not between the North and the South—but between former slaves and former slave owners.

Conceived as a response to the 2010 Secession Ball in Charleston that kicked off 4-plus years of sesquicentennial commemorative events in the South, the exhibit asks: what’s at stake in how we choose to remember and commemorate the Civil War and its aftermath?  The artworks collectively invoke the material culture of everyday life—baskets, tables, chairs, quilts, and fiddle bows.  They speak to activities and experiences that post-Civil War southerners shared.     Individual artworks invite visitors to join a quilting bee, break bread together, tell family stories, and empathize with the physical and psychological experiences of formerly enslaved people and former owners.

This exhibit is curated by McKissick Executive Director Dr. Jane Przybysz, who said, “The exhibit poses more questions than it answers--about Civil War commemorative events, and  about art and museums as both sites of collective memory and change agents.” 


Exhibit-related programs include:

Screening of Fambul Tok and dialog with filmmaker Sara Terry on Thursday, April 9, 2015 at 5:30 pm in the Booker T. Washington Auditorium, 1400 Wheat Street.  Sara Terry is a 2012 Guggenheim Fellow whose film documents post-civil war efforts to revive a traditional truth-telling and reconciliation ceremony in Sierra Leone. 


Image: Jemes Davis, Abe Lincoln, 2014, silver maple from Leesburg Road in Lower Richland County


Thursday, February 5, 2015 to Saturday, May 30, 2015