ESPN to air special on Requiem for Mother Emanual paintings

Leo Twiggs' Requiem for Mother Emanuel No. 3

The national spotlight will be on downtown Spartanburg Monday night.

Sports television network ESPN will air a special segment featuring artist Leo Twiggs’ Requiem for Mother Emanuel series, which is on display through Oct. 28 at the Johnson Collection’s gallery at 100 Dunbar St.

The segment, moderated by feature reporter Michelle Beisner, is expected air between 6 and 8 p.m. as part of ESPN’s NFL “Monday Night Countdown” before the Carolina Panthers square off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

It is a follow-up to the network’s coverage of a visit that Panthers head coach Ron Rivera and team captains Cam Newton, Greg Olsen, Thomas Davis, Luke Keuchly, Ryan Kalil and Charles Johnson made in August during the team’s summer training camp at Wofford College.

Twiggs’ batiks address the racially motivated slayings of nine African American parishioners by a lone gunman on June 17, 2015,  at the historic Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.

The batik artist’s works also capture the statewide display of solidarity in the wake of the shootings, which resulted in the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the Statehouse grounds.

ESPN crews visited Charlotte, N.C., and Spartanburg in late September to conduct interviews for the segment with Twiggs and Panthers players.

The exhibit will be the foundation of an educational symposium sponsored by the Johnson Collection, “Requiem for Mother Emanuel: An Exploration of Paint, Poetry, Race & Grace.”

The symposium will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at the Chapman Cultural Center.

Keynote speakers at the event will include Twiggs, South Carolina poet Nikky Finney and Jane Panetta, who serves as associate curator of the Whitney Museum of American Art. The event is free and open to the public.

The Hampton III Gallery in Greenville also has a large collection of Twiggs’ works.

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