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Try This: Two new exhibitions at the Columbia Museum of Art

We highly recommend checking out “Tina Williams Brewer: Stories of Grace” and “Resurgence and Renaissance: Art of the Catawba Nation Since 1973.”

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Quilted art in foreground with quote on wall in background

“Everybody’s going to have their opinion about what it is that South Carolina means. I choose to believe that this is our ancestral home.” - Tina Williams Brewer

Photo by the COLAtoday team

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Hi, Cola — Kayla here, feeling inspired after a visit to the Columbia Museum of Art and its two new, house-organized exhibitions: “Tina Williams Brewer: Stories of Grace” and “Resurgence and Renaissance: Art of the Catawba Nation Since 1973.” Read on to learn more about these shows and why you’ll want to plan a trip to the museum to check them out this summer.

What we tried:

We started with a tour through Tina Williams Brewer’s body of work, comprised of quilts she started making in the late ‘80s as a new mother. (She’d worked with ceramics and photography prior.) Brewer quickly developed her own style, working with found fabric, family heirlooms, photographs, newspaper clippings, and more, while exploring African and African American history and heritage through her pieces (which deserve to be experienced in person — they are stunning).

This career-spanning exhibition of Brewer’s meticulous work is the first of its kind in the Southeast, and we’re honored to have seen it.

What not to miss:

Standing in front of one of Brewer’s quilts is not unlike taking in an abstract painting. Her densely-layered, story-rich compositions reveal new aspects of themselves the longer you look, and it’s thrilling to notice the themes that connect her pieces.

Keep an eye out for the ancestors, aka figures that appear throughout Brewer’s work. They begin with their hands down, “but at some point, I raised their hands up. I have never gone back to the hands being down,” she explains.

While it would be impossible for the museum to be able to showcase the back of every quilt, there is one piece in particular, “Sequences: Soul Spirit Heart,” that is displayed suspended in midair to reveal a historical map of Pittsburgh. We were, admittedly, pretty enthralled by this one.

What we’re still talking about:

After walking through the galleries housing Brewer’s decades of work, museum visitors get to explore a 50-year exhibition that builds off a 1973 CMA exhibition of Catawba-made pottery. The citizens of the Catawba Nation have preserved and continue to celebrate their heritage through artistic traditions and innovation on display in “Resurgence and Renaissance: Art of the Catawba Nation Since 1973.”

Did you know? The Catawba Nation is the sole federally recognized tribe in South Carolina, and their pottery tradition is closely guarded and protected, taught only to Catawba citizens. citizens. In fact, it is the oldest continuous earthenware tradition in North America, dating back thousands of years.

Organized and shown in partnership with the University of South Carolina Lancaster, the exhibition also includes basketry, beadwork, quilts, digital art, and photography — roughly 70 works of art from more than 30 of the finest Catawba makers over the last half century, including those practicing today.

How you can experience this:

Tina Williams Brewer: Stories of Grace” and “Resurgence and Renaissance: Art of the Catawba Nation Since 1973” will be on view through Sunday, Sept. 3.

Things to know if you go:

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