Display of art or racism?


A painting at Christopher’s Art Gallery in downtown Marion is turning heads. It shows an African American man with a chain around his neck appearing to stand in front of a cloth resembling the Confederate Flag.

It’s called “Southern Discomfort.”

Some say it’s offensive and needs to be removed. The owner of the art gallery, Christopher Davis, says it’s his right to sell and display what he wants in his business.

“When it’s sold, that’s when it will be removed. Me as a business owner, I have the freedom to sell in my business what I desire to sell. As long as I’m in accordance to the laws of the city and the state, I mean it’s art,” explained Davis.

Davis says the painting, which was done by Rodgers Boykin of Columbia, has been on display for two weeks and many have criticized him for hanging it outside of his business.

“Why aren’t all these people spending all that energy as they pass by the Capitol from one day to the next to say well remove that {the confederate flag} from the Statehouse grounds, but you want to come by here and tell me at my establishment to remove a painting or print , when it’s my right to display it.”

But for many who pass by, the painting resurrects a painful time in our nation’s history.

Others say a message on the painting saying “This old rugged cloth is an emblem of suffering and shame,” portrays the wrong meaning of the Confederate Flag and the Confederacy.

“To a lot of people in the South that’s heritage, and to a lot of people that can be interpreted as hate, but I feel like it’s everybody’s right to have their own opinion to it, whatever that opinion might be,” said Derrick Hulon.

Davis says art is one’s own interpretation, and art enthusiast Poiette McGill Bromell agrees.

“It may be a bit shocking for some people. I can understand. I think that’s what the artist intended was to shock the viewer, but it’s to shock the viewer into understanding there are different perspectives”

“I respect the artist right to make a statement,” Brian Nolan said. “I think that’s a part of moving history forward.”

Davis hopes the community will realize he’s trying to sell art and not controversy.


Display of art or racism? : News : CarolinaLive.com.

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