South Arts’ 2021 Southern Prize & State Fellows debut in S.C.

Traveling exhibition opens today in Columbia

Marielle Plaisir | R. Bridges | In The Malediction of Cham Series | 2021 Printing on Duratrans, backlit transparent archival film | 63 x 43 in.

Nine accomplished Southern artists—or some of their works, anyway—debut in Columbia today as part of a traveling exhibition to showcase South Arts’ 2021 Southern Prize contenders.

Among them is Charleston’s Fletcher Williams III (right) of #SCartists fame, the Southern Prize finalist (runner up) last year.

The exhibition series, which fans out across the Southern states served by frequent SCAC partner and regional arts agency South Arts, began at 701 Center for Contemporary Art (701 Whaley St., second floor, Columbia) in 2019 (known affectionately at Hub HQ as “the before times”). It returns today beginning at 1 p.m. and runs through March 6, 2022.

Williams, certainly, will draw much attention as a native son. Joining him are Southern Prize winner Marielle Plaisir of Florida, Tameca Cole of Alabama, Raheleh Filsoofi of Tennessee, Joyce Garner of Kentucky, Myra Greene of Georgia, Jewel Ham of North Carolina, Ming Ying Hong of Mississippi and artists duo Keith Calhoun and Chandra McCormick of Louisiana.

South Arts rightfully lauds the 2021 cohort of state fellows is the most diverse group to date; of the six American-born artists, all but Garner are African American. Filsoofi is from Iran, Plaisir was born in France but has roots in Guadeloupe, and Hong was born in China but raised in Los Angeles.

With COVID continuing to rage in South Carolina (perhaps plateauing? maybe?), 701 will not be holding an opening reception. The gallery hopes it can present a smattering of events to accompany the exhibition instead—details TBA.

Presenting sponsors are Cyberwoven and BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina.


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