Home-grown historic women to be honored by home-grown talent
Eartha Kitt placesetting by Mana Hewitt for The Supper Table.
The Jasper Project announced its most ambitious multidisciplinary arts project to date – The Supper Table – enlisting the talents of more than 50 of South Carolina’s most outstanding women artists from the fields of visual, literary, theatrical arts, and film.
An homage to Judy Chicago’s iconic feminist art installation, The Dinner Party, and using Chicago’s project as a loose model, Jasper Project Executive Director Cindi Boiter conceived of The Supper Table as an innovative way of honoring some of South Carolina’s largely un-celebrated, yet groundbreaking women in history. After consulting with experts like Marjorie Spruill, professor emeritus in women’s history at the University of South Carolina, Boiter selected 12 historic South Carolina women who, via their work in the arts, medicine, law, business, athletics, entertainment, and more, changed the course of human history.
Using the model created by Chicago, Boiter commissioned Richland Library Maker Coordinator Jordan Morris to create a 12’ x 12’ x 12’ wooden table at which visual artists would create place-settings inspired by and honoring the historic women. In addition to the 12 visual artists, a dozen artists each from the literary, theatrical arts, and film were also invited to participate. The result is a multidisciplinary arts installation and performance which will premiere in September along with the release of:
- a book Setting The Supper Table,
- the premiere of a series of 12 looped 90-second films,
- a staged oration by 12 women actors based on essays written by 12 literary artists,
- and, of course, the installation of the table itself, complete with 12 place-settings.
Funded in part by a Connected Communities grant from Central Carolina Community Foundation, The Supper Table premiere begins Friday, Sept. 6 at Trustus Theatre with a celebration, performance, and panel presentation before moving Sunday, Sept. 8 to Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College for another premiere celebration and the installation of The Supper Table, complete with films and a collection of 12 original portraits of the honored women created by Artfields People’s Choice winner Kirkland Smith. After, it will travel to other venues in the state throughout 2020. In addition to the hand-crafted table with artisanal place-settings, the books, looped films, and portraits, the installation will also include three walls comprised of 120 hand-embossed tiles, each celebrating an additional history-making woman from South Carolina, some living and some deceased, called an “Array of Remarkable SC Women.” These tiles were hand-painted this past spring by women and girls from the state’s Midlands region.
The women honored at The Supper Table range from indigo entrepreneur Eliza Lucas Pinckney to college founders Mary McLeod Bethune and Elizabeth Evelyn Wright to ground-breaking law professor Sarah Leverette, who died last August. The honored subjects also include Alice Childress, Septima Clark, Matilda Evans, Althea Gibson, Angeline and Sarah Grimke, Eartha Kitt, Julia Peterkin, and Modjeska Monteith Simkins. Eight of the 12 place-settings are devoted to women of color.
Visual artists involved include Michaela Pilar Brown, Mana Hewitt, Eileen Blyth, Laurie Brownell McIntosh, Olga Yukhno, Flavia Lovatelli, Bohumila Augustinova, Lori Isom, Renee Roullier, Tonya Gregg, B. A. Hohman, and Heidi Darr-Hope. Jordan Morris created the actual table and Kathryn Van Aernum is the official photographer. The city of Columbia’s Brenda Oliver assisted with tiles along with Diane Hare.
Literary artists include South Carolina Poet Laureate Marjory Wentworth, Eva Moore, Claudia Smith Brinson, Carla Damron, Candace Wiley, Christina Xan, Qiana Whitted, Meeghan Kane, Kristine Hartvigsen, and Jennifer Bartell. Boiter is also writing an introductory essay for the book.
Film artists include Emmy award-winning filmmaker Betsy Newman, Laura Kissel, Roni Nicole, Faye Riley, Katly Hong, Ebony Wilson, Jordan Mullen, Steffi Brink, Carleen Maur, Lee Ann Kornegay, Lillian Burke, and Tamara Finkbeiner with Josetra Robinson. Kornegay is also creating The Making of the Supper Table, a full-length film that will premiere in spring 2020. Indie Grits Lab’s Mahkia Greene is overseeing the filmmakers.
Vicky Saye Henderson is overseeing the casting and directing of the theatrical artists.
For more information about The Supper Table,visit its Kickstarter campaign