charmaine celebration photo

The exhibition Indigo Prayers: A Creation Story, presented in conjunction with Atlanta artist Charmaine Minniefield’s ongoing Praise House Project, recreates the small, single-room structures used for gathering and worship. The project grew out of the artist’s research of the ring shout, a full-body, rhythmic movement and prayer, whose West African origins predate enslavement.

The Carlos exhibition features seven large-scale paintings, which Charmaine created during a 14-month residency in the Gambia, West Africa during the pandemic, executed in indigo, mahogany bark, and crushed oyster shell. For Minniefield, the paintings—self-portraits of the artist dancing the ring shout— function as totems that reassert Black identity and resilience.

On Sunday, August 28, this series of public events celebrated the closing of the exhibition and the launch of the Praise House Project at Emory.

Dr. Julie B. Johnson, chair of the Dance Department at Spelman College, and Tamara Williams, associate professor of dance at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, joined Charmaine Minniefield for a conversation about movement as medicine, embodied memory, and the ring shout as resistance.

The conversation was followed by a performance by the Geechee Gullah Ring Shouters from Darien, Georgia, led by seventh-generation shouter Griffin Lotson. The ten-member group has been performing professionally since 1980, educating and entertaining audiences around the United States with the "ring shout," a compelling fusion of counterclockwise dance movement, call-and-response singing, and percussion.

This program was co-sponsored by the Emory Office of Spiritual and Religious Life and Program in Dance and Movement Studies.

To learn more about this event, read the Emory Report article HERE