Press Release

John Sims Partners with the National Action Network & SC Progressive Network Educational Fund to host "A Rally Against the Confederate State of Mind: Remembering the Emanuel Nine", Honoring the victims of the Charleston Church Massacre

John Sims Partners with the National Action Network & SC Progressive Network Educational Fund to host “A Rally Against the Confederate State of Mind: Remembering the Emanuel Nine”, Honoring the victims of the Charleston Church Massacre
Call to Action: Public Protest & Art Performance Scheduled for June 17th at 12pm at the South Carolina State House
Columbia, SC — Interdisciplinary artist John Sims, in partnership with the National Action Network and SC Progressive Network Education Fund will facilitate A Rally Against the Confederate State of Mind: Remembering the Emanuel Nine (Charleston Massacre) on June 17th at 12:00pm at the South Carolina State House. Other partners include South Carolinians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, and Tapp’s Outpost.
The purpose of this rally is to confront the state of mind that allows white supremacy to exist through racial profiling, state-sanctioned violence, and confederate monuments/symbols that glorify white supremacy. It will also serve as a remembrance event honoring the “Emmanuel Nine“, the victims of the mass shooting that took place at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17, 2015.
Artist-organizer John Sims will direct a special presentation the world’s largest Afro-Confederate Flag on the steps of the State House. This artistic performance is part of his response to the highly-publicized detainment incident that transpired several weeks ago.
“Although the Confederate flag has been removed from the State House, the mindset that it represents continues to live and thrive with no sense of accountability. We must confront and subvert this Confederate State of Mind that protects white supremacy and promotes black subjugation. If we are not safe in the church space, art space, or our bed space, where are we safe? ” Says 701 Whaley Artist-In-Residence, John Sims. Mr. Sims was racially profiled, accosted, and detained in his loft at the 701 Whaley artist-in-residency space on May 17th at 2:00am.
“As we reflect on the impact of the Emanuel Nine, current signs of the times dictate that we must take a closer look at the legal and social construct that justifies the dehumanization of Black lives in our state,” says Vince Matthews, Public Policy Director at the SC Progressive Network. “The unfortunate incident with John Sims highlights the depth of the constitutional inequity that maintains the carceral state of South Carolina.”
“We will continue to hold police accountable for the ongoing trauma that they cause in the black community. Artists and activists are going to rally to speak up the best way they know how, which is through their art and their voice. That was exactly what Mr. Sims was doing with his installation, Afrodixia: A Righteous Confiscation before he was assaulted,” says the National Action Network of Columbia President, Tiffany James.
The rally is a call to creatives, activists and artists to respond to Confederate State of Mind to speak out against social injustices, white supremacy and the police terrorism that many of us must endure. This rally is also an opportunity to exhibit creative resistance and righteous confiscation as a strategy for survival and transformation in the pursuit and demand for humanity, respect, and justice.
Image Credit: Installation Shot at 701 Center of Contemporary Art, Columbia, SC.
Courtesy of John Sims.
Artist, writer and activist John Sims’ solo exhibition AfroDixia: A Righteous Confiscation is currently on view at the 701 Center for Contemporary Art in Columbia, SC. This retrospective presents elements of his 20-year project Recoloration Proclamation, a system of work that confronts the ideas and symbols of white supremacy and visual terrorism, Confederate iconography, propriety of Southern Heritage, and transformative ritual in the context of the African American experience. Select works and performance pieces are also featured in shows at the Houston Museum of African American Culture, the Virginia Museum of Fine Art, and the Tampa Museum of Art.
John Sims, a Detroit native, Sarasota based conceptual artist, writer, and activist, who creates art and curatorial projects spanning the areas of installation, performance, text, music, film, and large-scale activism, informed by mathematics, design, the politics of white supremacy, sacred symbols/anniversaries, and poetic/political text. For 20 years he has been working on the forefront of contemporary mathematical art and leading the national pushback on Confederate iconography. He was 2020/21 Artist in Residency at the Ringling Museum, where he developed the performance piece 2020: (Di)Visions of America. He is currently Artist in Residency at the 701 Center for Contemporary Art.
His work has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, CNN, NBC News, USA Today, US News/World Report,NPR, The Guardian, ThinkProgress, Al Jazeera, Art in America, Sculpture, Hyperallergic, New Art Examiner, Science News, Nature and Scientific American. He has written for CNN, Al JazeeraTampa Bay TimesDetroit Free Press The Huffington Post, Guernica Magazine, and The Rumpus and TheGrio.
Press Contact:
Nathalie Levey, Color Brigade Media
(917) 648-3126
Image Credit: Five Confederate Flags: A Group Hanging, 2021. Courtesy of John Sims.