The City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs will present two exhibits including: Post Civil War Charleston – 1865: A Photographic Retrospective and Civil/Uncivil: The Art of Leo Twiggs, on view at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park in Charleston, SC, from Apr. 8 through May 8, 2011, in observance of the Civil War Sesquicentennial. The exhibit opens on Apr. 8, and the public is invited to attend a reception in honor of the artists from 6 to 8pm.

The two disparate shows display photographic images (c. 1865) of the physical devastation caused by the war as well as artistic interpretations of the impact that this war had on American society in the late 19th and 20th centuries leading up to the Civil Rights Movement.

Located on the lower level of the gallery, Post Civil War Charleston – 1865: A Photographic Retrospective features photographs from the archives of The Library of Congress that were taken in Charleston in 1865 and accurately reflect a war-torn Charleston in the immediate aftermath of the five-year conflict of the War Between the States. Many of Charleston’s well-known landmarks are documented in these images, including the Battery and City Hall, as well as images of the flag raising ceremony at Fort Sumter, which occurred near the end of the Civil War on Apr. 14, 1865, denoting the fourth anniversary of the surrender of Fort Sumter.

Some of these photographs were originally taken with large glass plates, while others were taken with twin lens stereoscopic cameras in order to create a stereo view. In recent years, the photographs have been fully restored by Charleston native Rick Rhodes as photographs deteriorate over a long period of time. However, Rick Rhodes Photography & Imaging fully restored these significant photographs, as to effectively highlight all of the detail of Fort Sumter and Charleston, South Carolina in 1865. A great amount of time was spent repairing scratches, cracks, and other faults that occur over time, enabling audiences to see the historic city of Charleston in 1865, amid this momentous event.

Civil/Uncivil: The Art of Leo Twiggs, located on the upper level of the City Gallery, features works by Orangeburg, SC, native Dr. Leo Twiggs, and documents the path from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement. The works represent aspects of the South’s legacy as it relates to these events and how they have impacted Southern society, both in a historical sense and as it relates today.

Twiggs is widely seen as the country’s main pioneer of batik as a modern art form. As one of the most noteworthy South Carolina artists since the 1960s, Twiggs’ art is about subjects, topics, issues and people close to his Southern upbringing. But through familiar specifics, Twiggs addresses broader themes, including race, black culture, politics and relationships between generations. He does so through modern imagery and narrative scenes that seldom are straightforward snapshots but abstracted, symbolic tableaus dominated by shapes, lines and fields of color.

By the 1970s, Twiggs’ national reputation resulted in several solo shows in the Northeast, including at New York’s Studio Museum in Harlem. He also has been in group shows featuring the country’s most famous African-American artists, including Jacob Lawrence and Romare Bearden. His career retrospective, organized by the Georgia Museum of Art, traveled to several venues, including the South Carolina State Museum from 2004 to 2006. Twiggs’ work is in prominent South Carolina museums, including the Greenville County Museum of Art. He was the first person to receive as an individual South Carolina’s highest art award, the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Award for the Arts. Civil/Uncivil: The Art of Leo Twiggs focuses primarily on the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement and is curated by Wim Roefs of if ART Gallery in Columbia, SC.

Rick Rhodes and historian Robert Rosen will give a combined lecture on Post Civil War Charleston – 1865: A Photographic Retrospective on Saturday, Apr. 9, 2011 at noon.

Dr. Leo Twiggs will give an artist’s lecture for the exhibit Civil/Uncivil: The Art of Leo Twiggs on Sunday, Apr. 10, 2011 at 3pm.

The City Gallery at Waterfront Park, owned by the City of Charleston and operated by the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs, is a venue for contemporary artwork that is new, vital and innovative, with a focus on broadening Charleston’s arts outlook. The City Gallery provides access to the visual arts for everyone in Charleston, visitors and residents alike, by offering exhibits that are all admission-free.

For further information check our SC Institutional Gallery listings, call the Gallery at 843/958-6484 or visit