- 32x27 inches
- Offset Lithograph
- Open Edition
- Commemorative Edition
- A Tribute to the Charleston Emanuel 9
A release by Leroy Campbell created to pay tribute to the Charleston Emanuel 9, the nine African Americans who were murdered on June 17, 2015 during a Bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
The nine people murdered in this hate crime were Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, Cynthia Marie Graham Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lee Lance, Depayne Middleton-Doctor, Tywanza Sanders, Daniel L. Simmons, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton and Myra Thompson.
Campbell’s painting tells the story of an old-fashioned backwoods creek baptism. Behind the woman emerging from the water, trees bloom in vibrant shades of magenta, fuchsia and violet. The space between the trees is illuminated by the truth and light of God’s word, Matthew 13, the Parable of the Sower, the same passage the Charleston Emanuel Nine were studying the night the unthinkable occurred.
Infused in the right side of the collage is an example of seeds that fell on unfertile ground, seeds that had no depth of earth; shallow roots that left them scorched and withered. The clock that stopped when a bomb struck the 16th Street Baptist Church; killing four little girls in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963 symbolizes such unfertile ground.
The fruits of seeds that fell on fertile ground are represented on the left side of the collage by the 1964 calendar; depicting the year Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other Civil Rights leaders witnessed President Lyndon B. Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act, a step towards freedom and equality for all. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. sowed and watered the seeds. God grew and multiplied them yielding a crop thirty-sixty, one hundred times that which he had planted in faith, demonstrating what God can do with a fertile heart.
Embedded in the background you will find also find the steeple of Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the heart of the Holy City, now a symbol of unity, hope, strength, forgiveness, light in the darkness, and triumph over tragedy. The collage is designed to document and to teach.
Two men stand on either side of the woman being baptized; helping her to her feet. Although she is still weak, she is filled with the joy of God’s promises and the hope of the resurrection. The men are a reminder that no matter what we might be going through in life, whether it’s joy or pain, reminds us that we are never alone. The woman has been given wings to help her ascend to her new beginning, her new way of thinking, her new way of doing, her new way of being.
Her dress bears the black and white images of each of the Charleston Nine. She carries pieces of them in her soul—pastor, grandma, mother, father, daughter, son, senator, coach, barber, poet, entrepreneur, reverend, librarian, lover of jazz, custodian, speech therapist, matriarch, English teacher, guidance counselor, Community Development Director, choir singer, church member, advisor, leader, beloved. Next to each one of them are scripture and quotes to give each a voice, to give us counsel and understanding and direction.
It measures 32x27 inches in size. Hand Signed Open Edition commemorative release.
|Signed||Signed and Numbered by the Artist|
Leroy CampbellThrough nostalgic scenes and universal themes, he illustrates the art of storytelling using melanges of acrylic, paper, tapestries and organic materials. His work is a fusion of art and history that celebrates family and community culture and is sparked by the essence of that which connects all people. Through these archetypes, Leroy Campbell finds his creative voice and tells his visual stories. Stylized coal black figures with elongated necks and no visible eyes, silhouettes “look[ing] inward to the soul” and full lips that, “...speak for the soul even in their silence.” Amalgamated with newspaper collages as a backdrop, the images speak volumes to observers. Uninhibited and unconfined, and with an impetus to ignite spiritual and emotional sparks in the world, Campbell premiered with expressive yet single dimensional pastel smudges. He then evolves, through his patient discovery of using light and shadow, and with layers of text and texture that implicate the multilayered essences of life. His art is meant to socialize with people and provide a dialogue of inspiration. The words and imagery Leroy Campbell composes conveys a unified message which elucidates the commonalities in all of us.
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