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Julyan Davis
North Carolina

Artist Statement Submitted 2020

This ongoing project is a collaboration between North Carolina artist Julyan Davis and South Carolina poet Glenis Redmond, begun during Davis’ residency at the Gibbes Museum (2018). Fourteen ‘Stations‘ (paintings in architectural frames) are accompanied by fourteen short poems (kwansabas) that describe a narrative leading to Charleston’s Mermaid Riot of 1867.
The project was inspired in part by Ras Michael Brown’s ‘African-American Cultures and the South Carolina Lowcountry’, that connects the Kongo Simbi, or water spirit, and its fusion with the Lowcountry slave’s belief in mermaids. The Lowcountry Simbi, or Cymbee, would punish capture with a beckoned hurricane. As such, the story is primarily one that speaks to our disregard of nature, and how we lost an older, deeper engagement with the world.
This is submitted for the 1858 prize as a collaborative venture between Julyan Davis and Glenis Redmond.

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