African-American art exhibition at Spartanburg gallery to celebrate Juneteenth

Spartanburg is celebrating Juneteenth by holding an exhibit of artwork by famous Southern African-American artists.

“Walkers with the Dawn: A Century of African-American Art in the South,” contains work by Leo Twiggs, Joseph Delaney, Clementine Hunter and others. The showing and reception is from 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday in the TJC Gallery, 154 W. Main St. The exhibit also will be on display during the June and July ArtWalks from 6 to 9 p.m.

Many of the pieces reflect African-American life in the South up to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and ’60s. The event is to showcase artwork from the Johnson Collection, but also to observe one of the oldest African-American holidays celebrating the end of slavery.

“This is a reflection of how far we have come in this journey,” said Nannie Jefferies, administrator of the Spartanburg Regional History Museum. “It is a very diverse collection.”

Viewers will see a painting by William H. Johnson honoring the Tuskegee Airmen, who fought in World War II. Another painting is by Malvin Gray Johnson titled “Roll Jordan Roll,” inspired by an old black spiritual. Other pieces reflect the Harlem Renaissance with the Central Park theme painted by Delaney. There also is a controversial work of the Confederate Flag by Twiggs.

Sarah Tignor, Johnson Collection curator, supervised Amy Chalmers, a Wofford College intern, who put together the pieces for the showing. Chalmers graduated in May and is on a trip in Alaska.

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