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Carlos Museum plans events to mark end of Indigo Prayers exhibit, launch of Praise House Project

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Carlos Museum plans events to mark end of Indigo Prayers exhibit, launch of Praise House Project

Local Atlanta artist Charmaine Minniefield poses with works from "Indigo Prayers: A Creation," a series of paintings inspired by her search for her grandmother’s ancestral lines in Gambia, West Africa currently on exhibition at the Michael C. Carlos Museum through September 11, 2022. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Atlanta, GA — Carlos Museum will mark the end of the Indigo Prayers exhibit on Aug. 28 and will also celebrate the launch of the Praise House Project at Emory.

“The exhibition Indigo Prayers: A Creation Story at Emory University’s Michael C. Carlos Museum, is presented in conjunction with Atlanta artist Charmaine Minniefield’s ongoing Praise House Project, in which she recreates the small, single- room structures used for gathering and worship,” a press release for the event says. “The project grew out of the artist’s research on the Ring Shout, a full-body, rhythmic movement and prayer, whose West African origins predate enslavement.

“The Carlos exhibition features seven large-scale paintings, which Charmaine created during a 14-month residency in the Gambia, West Africa during the pandemic, executed in indigo, mahogany bark, and crushed oyster shell. For Minniefield, the paintings—self-portraits of the artist dancing the Ring Shout— function as totems that reassert Black identity and resilience.

“On Sunday, August 28, a series of public events will take place to celebrate the closing of the exhibition and the launch of the Praise House Project at Emory.”

Minniefield was inspired to create “Indigo Prayers” by her time in the Gambia, West Africa, searching for her grandmother’s ancestral lines.

Minniefield traveled to the Gambia in January 2020 and ended up staying for 14 months during a quarantine period of the COVID-19 pandemic. She used her time as an artist in residence to research her origins on a deeper level.

Here’s the full list of events slated for Sunday, Aug. 28:
Conversation and Dance Performance

At 1:30 p.m. in Emory’s Cannon Chapel, join Indigo Prayers artist Charmaine Minniefield, Dr. Julie B. Johnson, chair of the Dance Department at Spelman College, and Tamara Williams, associate professor of dance at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, for a conversation about movement as medicine, embodied memory, and the Ring Shout as resistance.

The conversation will be followed by a performance of the Geechee Gullah Ring Shouters from Darien, Georgia, led by seventh-generation shouter Griffin Lotson. The ten-member group has been performing professionally since 1980, educating and entertaining audiences around the United States with the Ring Shout, a compelling fusion of counterclockwise dance movement, call-and-response singing, and percussion. The program is free and open to the public and is co-sponsored by the Emory Office of Spiritual and Religious Life and the Program in Dance and Movement Studies.

Ancestral Feast

At 4:30 p.m. in Ackerman Hall at the Carlos Museum, join artist activist Charmaine Minniefield for a contemporary take on the traditional gathering, with Chef Cleophus Hethington, a James Beard finalist for “Best Emerging Chef,” renowned in Atlanta for his Ębí Chop Bar pop-ups and his work at Lazy Betty. Feasting was a part of Praise House gatherings across the South. Break bread in honor of those who have come before as Minniefield shares her vision for the Praise House Project over the next two years, culminating with a Praise House on the Emory campus in 2024. Fee: $60 for Carlos Museum members; $85 for non- members. Space is limited and registration is required for this event. Visit HERE to register. Special thanks to Stephen Satterfield and Whetstone Media for assistance in organizing this event.

The Michael C. Carlos Museum is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Saturday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sunday: noon – 5 p.m. For more information, visit carlos.emory.edu/visit, call 404.727.4282, or follow @CarlosMuseum on social media.

Reporter Zoe Seiler contributed to this story. 

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