We’re featuring the artists from the Supper Table project throughout the summer. This is the 10th in our series on Supper Table Artists
I consider myself quite fortunate to have seen Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party installation when my husband and I were living in Scotland, where it was featured in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe during the summer of 1984. The sheer magnitude of the work was overwhelming, and the enormous dining table which anchored the exhibit served as a powerful visual metaphor. Many of the women honored there were unfamiliar to me, but they certainly deserved a place at the glorious table!
So, I was particularly thrilled to participate in the Jasper Project’s The Supper Table Project. Cindi Boiter’s concept of focusing on 12 South Carolina women who devoted their lives to positive change is a brilliant way to pay tribute to the 40th anniversary of Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party. I was even more thrilled to have the opportunity to research and write about Alice Childress – a writer I had always wanted to know more about. This award-winning writer deserves to be better known and read by a larger audience, and her plays should be seen around the world. Many of Alice Childress’ plays are rooted in the South Carolina low country, and her characters are working-class African Americans struggling against systemic racism. These are voices that can teach us so much about the present day. Childress was a ground breaking African American artist, and she should be celebrated and honored for her multitude of achievements. She paved the way for so many others, particularly African American women playwrights and actresses. I am grateful for the opportunity to shine a spotlight on this extraordinary American icon.
I love the way The Supper Table Project brings together so many of South Carolina’s working visual artists, writers, filmmakers, and performers. This community of amazing women deserves the support of everyone in the Palmetto State who supports the arts and the rich culture of our home place.
MARJORY WENTWORTH is the New York Times bestselling author of Out of Wonder, Poems Celebrating Poets (with Kwame Alexander and Chris Colderley). She is the co-writer of We Are Charleston, Tragedy and Triumph at Mother Emanuel, with Herb Frazier and Dr. Bernard Powers and Taking a Stand, The Evolution of Human Rights, with Juan E. Mendez. She is co-editor with Kwame Dawes of Seeking, Poetry and Prose inspired by the Art of Jonathan Green, and the author of the prizewinning children’s story Shackles. Her books of poetry include Noticing Eden, Despite Gravity, The Endless Repetition of an Ordinary Miracle and New and Selected Poems. Her poems have been nominated for The Pushcart Prize six times. She is the current poet laureate of South Carolina. Wentworth is a Senior Fellow at the Global Social Justice Practice Academy. She teaches courses in writing, social justice and banned books at The College of Charleston.
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Or visit us at http://jasperproject.org/supper-table