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Conversation, dance and feasting will celebrate ‘Indigo Prayers’ exhibition and Praise House Project
Minniefield / Hethington combo

On Aug. 28, artist Charmaine Minniefield (left) will lead a discussion about the Ring Shout and Chef Cleophus Hethington will prepare an ancestral feast in recognition of the Carlos Museum’s “Indigo Prayers: A Creation Story” exhibition and Praise House Project at Emory.

Two events at Emory’s Michael C. Carlos Museum on Sunday, Aug. 28, will celebrate the “Indigo Prayers: A Creation Story” exhibition (on view until Sept. 11) and launch the Praise House Project at Emory. Atlanta artist Charmaine Minniefield is the impetus behind both projects. 

Minniefield’s Praise House Project involves recreating the small, single-room structures enslaved people used for gathering and worship. The work grew out of the artist’s research on the Ring Shout, a full-body, rhythmic movement and prayer, whose West African origins predate enslavement.

“Indigo Prayers,” which has been on display at the Carlos Museum since March, features seven large-scale paintings that Minniefield created during a 14-month residency in the Gambia, West Africa, during the COVID-19 pandemic. The paintings are executed in indigo, mahogany bark and crushed oyster shell, and Minniefield says that as self-portraits of the artist dancing the Ring Shout, they function as totems that reassert Black identity and resilience.

The public is invited to the events on Aug. 28. 


Conversation and Dance Performance 

1:30 p.m. 

Cannon Chapel

Free and no registration is required.

Join Minniefield, Julie B. Johnson (chair of the Spelman College Dance Department) and Tamara Williams (associate professor of dance at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte) for a conversation about movement as medicine, embodied memory and the Ring Shout as resistance. 

Following the conversation, the Geechee Gullah Ring Shouters from Darien, Georgia, will perform, led by seventh-generation shouter Griffin Lotson. The 10-member group has performed 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. 

The program is free and open to the public. It is co-sponsored by the Emory Office of Spiritual and Religious Life and the Program in Dance and Movement Studies. 


Ancestral Feast 

4:30 p.m.

Michael C. Carlos Museum 

Ackerman Hall 

Fee: $60 for Carlos Museum members; $85 for non-members

Space is limited and registration is required. 

Join Minniefield for a contemporary take on the traditional gathering with Chef Cleophus Hethington, a James Beard finalist for “Best Emerging Chef,” renowned in Atlanta for his Ebí Chop Bar pop-ups and his work at Lazy Betty. 

Feasting was part of Praise House gatherings across the South. Break bread in honor of those who have come before as Minniefield shares her vision for the Praise House Project over the next two years, culminating with a Praise House on the Emory campus in 2023. 

Special thanks to Stephen Satterfield and Whetstone Media  for assistance in organizing this event.

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