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Published on May 27th, 2016 | by Millennium Magazine Staff


Contemporary African American Art Exhibition Opens at Mann-Simons Site

Columbia, S.C.—Historic Columbia, Palmetto Curatorial Exchange, and Connelly & Light present, Route to (re)settlement, an exhibition of contemporary African American art, on display at the Mann-Simons Site (1403 Richland Street), through July 30, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, or by appointment. Group tours are also available by reservation. The show is free and open to the public.

Route to (re)settlement is the first installment of an exhibition series examining the stories of African American communities in South Carolina, featuring works by acclaimed artists Rashid Johnson and Henry Taylor, alongside up-and-coming artists, Michi Meko, Victoria-Idongesit Udondian and Fletcher Williams, III. By honoring Southern black oral histories and stories in music, food, textiles, spiritualism, and other cultural customs, the works in this exhibition illustrate the development of how these stories have been told through the past to present.

“Delving into the archives associated with the family that settled and occupied the Mann-Simons Site, I realized the grounds encapsulated the historical and current socio-political and cultural climate in the United States and beyond,” says Cecelia Stucker, Palmetto Curatorial Exchange curator. “Route to (re)settlement dissects the violence, cruelty, and systemic racism experienced by blacks throughout the world, but it also highlights and celebrates the cultural endowment these varied communities produce.”

Since 1978, the Mann-Simons Site has served as a center for culture and education in the African American community with a mission to create opportunities for individuals to learn and explore the history of Columbia and the diverse experiences of African Americans in the capital city. The interaction between the works and the Mann-Simons Site encourages discussion about the site’s history as a home, work place, spiritual center, and source of pride for almost 200 years and its future.

Artist bios

Rashid Johnson (b.1977), originally from Chicago, has now found success working and living in New York as a sculptor and photographer. Johnson’s practice revolves around black history and cultural identity in America, incorporating everyday materials to create deeply spiritual works.

Henry Taylor (b. 1958) is a Los Angeles-based artist, well known for his acrylic paintings, mixed-media sculptures, and installations. His most prevalent work is portraiture. His paintings expressively capture those who influence him: historical figures, family, and strangers alike.

Michi Meko (b. 1974) is an Atlanta-based multidisciplinary artist. Born and raised in Florence, Alabama, Meko’s practice is influenced by his deep Southern roots and interest in hip hop subculture.

Victoria-Idongesit Udondian (b. 1982) is a Nigerian artist currently working to earn her MFA from Columbia University in New York City. Victoria works in textiles, exploring clothing’s ability to shape the identity of an individual or community.

Fletcher Williams, III (b. 1987), a Charleston native, seeks to explore identity, history, and popular culture in his multi-media pieces. Williams’ practice is shaped by the marginalized societies of Charleston, juxtaposing their iconography with notes of the Palmetto State’s history.

To schedule a tour, please call 803.252.1770 x 23 or email

For more information, visit

About Historic Columbia:

In November 1961, a small group of individuals intent on saving the Ainsley Hall House from demolition officially incorporated as the Historic Columbia Foundation. Over the next five decades the organization, which was founded on the premise of preservation and education, would take on the stewardship of seven historic properties in Richland County. Today, the organization serves as a model for local preservation efforts and interpretation of local history. Visit or find us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or YouTube for more details.



One Response to Contemporary African American Art Exhibition Opens at Mann-Simons Site

  1. Marion Alston says:

    Can you please if you can sent me a link to the article you’ll wrote 2 or 3 yrs. ago, named Look who i found Mr. Leon Benbow, I can not find it any where in your archives, i lost it out of my bookmarks when i upgraded to windows 10. I’d like to share it with some of my classmates and friends from “B.T.W.” high school.In the article it also said it was going to be a part 2, which i never could find? Thank’s

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