The Daily Gamecock

Columbia Museum of Art celebrates 'Dreamers' for MLK Day

The Columbia Museum of Art and Friends of African American Art & Culture worked together this Martin Luther King Day to present “In Celebration of Dreamers.” The event, created specifically in celebration of the holiday, took note of the importance of art and performance in combating the current social issues that are taking place all across the country and the rest of the world. 

FAAAC board member Steven Hughes said that it is important for attendees of the event to see what was going through an artist's mind during the creative process and to make connections to their personal ideas about the world. He hoped that people would be able to identify multiple facets of Martin Luther King Jr.'s influence in the artwork. 

“The way the artist portrays what they feel and what they think as far as the events that are happening now, or in recent events as far as classism, racism and everything under the sun, it speaks to Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy,” Hughes said. 

The event had local food, a DJ, dance performances from NAACP’s ACT-SO Columbia Chapter and art exhibits from Renée Cox and Roni Nicole Henderson. Henderson made a short film entitled“bridge/refrain,” a haunting portrait of women and gun violence. Henderson wanted her film to be a reaction for all the injustices that she has recently seen going on in society.

“I was really inspired by the need to develop a coping mechanism for all of the gun violence that we have been facing in the past couple years, and gun violence is not anything new, but a lot of violence against folks that are just moving about their life,” Henderson said. 

Henderson thinks art can play a part in going up against the problems that have seeped into our country’s DNA by having it ignite a quest for a more idealistic world that everyone can equally be a part of.

“Every front is needed to combat a social ill," Henderson said. "Art is one way that seeps into the heart and the mind, and kind of before you know it, you’re thinking about something — at least having a dialogue within about it."

Henderson looks back on history as a way of seeing how people have taken to MLK’s legacy in the 50 years since his death, but she can’t see much change in the ideals King faced back then and the ones that forced her to make her short film in the first place.

“I think he might be a little depressed by the lack of progress in a lot of ways, but at the same time something in me hopes that he would still be hopeful and understanding that change is really this ‘you gotta be in for a long haul,’" Henderson said.

The event was a bustling hive of people eager to learn something about themselves and those around them and to see some show of progress after all these years. 

“It’s just very nice to see people coming out and coming together to commemorate Dr. King’s birthday,” said local resident Arlene Gates. “To think about, reflect upon his dream and where we are today and what’s yet to come, so it’s really been good.”