Requiem for Charleston is currently on view in the Lincoln Gallery at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM). I was invited to speak about Requiem for Charleston for SAAM's Contemporary Artist Series. I'm looking forward to sharing the interview with you when it becomes available.
Joanna Marsh, Senior Curator of Contemporary Interpretation, writes:
Requiem for Charleston honors the nine men and women who died in a shooting on June 17, 2015, inside the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Tambourines with black lambskin heads are inscribed with the victims' names, while the drums of others are made of polished black acrylic that reflect the faces of viewers, suggesting the collective tragedy of the attack. Artist Lava Thomas chose to memorialize the dead with tambourines because of their cultural and historical significance, particularly their role in African American musical traditions--including protest songs of the civil rights era. In the days following the Charleston massacre, tambourines, cymbals, and bells rang throughout the community as a call for unity and support. Here the instruments hang motionless, in silent tribute to the lives lost.