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Yesterday the Gibbes Museum of Art announced that Orangeburg, S.C. artist Leo Twiggs is this year’s Society 1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art winner. The 84-year-old artist was selected from more than 247 artists across the South and is the first South Carolinian to take home the prize of $10,000.
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The 1858 Prize is presented each year by Society 1858, a member auxiliary group of the Gibbes comprised of young professionals; the prize is “awarded to one artist whose work demonstrates the highest level of artistic achievement in any media, while contributing to a new understanding of art in the South.”

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In a 2016 interview with Twiggs, City Paper talked to the artist about the work he created, “Requiem for Mother Emanuel No. 3,” after the Emanuel AME tragedy. He said, “When the Mother Emanuel incident happened, obviously, I was very moved. I had been to the Emanuel Church. I had been to Charleston. What I tried to do is show it as a ragged instrument that now has bloody connotations because you see there is blood sprayed all over it.”
[image-4]In a press release, the Gibbes shared Twiggs’ reaction to winning this year’s 1858 Prize: “I am on Cloud Nine. It is an unbelievable feeling coming at this time in my career. For it to happen at the Gibbes, in a city where my ancestors were first brought ashore as slaves, and just 45 miles from where I was born and did my first drawings on the back side of discarded wallpaper, is humbling and heartwarming.”


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