Sculpture captures local farm

  • Tuesday, August 19, 2014

An interpretation of the Williams Muscadine Vineyard and Farm in Nesmith depicts the family’s ancestral home surrounded by intertwining arms of fruit-bearing vines. The sculpture is the work of Syd Carpenter and is part of the artist’s exhibition at the Philadelphia Afro American Museum. PHOTO PROVIDED

The good things happening at the Williams Vineyard and Farm in Nesmith have extended nationally and in April, the farm was one of 10 African American Gardens and Farms featured in a sculpture exhibition at the African American Museum in Philadelphia. The exhibition entitled “More Places of Our Own” by Swarthmore College Professor Syd Carpenter runs through August 31.

Carpenter’s sculptures were inspired by her travels through Georgia and South Carolina and expand on her commemoration of the pivotal role black farmers and gardeners played in maintaining and sustaining the African American Community.

She traveled throughout Georgia and South Carolina, where she met firsthand the gardeners and farmers who inspired her body of work. Cassandra Williams Rush was impressed with her interest and in-depth interviews. “She spent all afternoon, talking to us and taking pictures,” said Rush.

Carpenter is a Pew Fellow and professor of studio arts at Swarthmore College with a M.F.A. from Tyler School of Art. Her work can be found in numerous museum collections, including at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Philadelphia Convention Center, and Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.

The Williams family, which included the patriarch, laborer and creator of the vineyard, 86-year-old David Williams, daughter Cassandra, son Wendell and daughter-in-law Annie made the trip for the opening exhibition where they basked in the spotlight and answered questions. As for the sculpture itself, Rush appreciates Carpenter’s interpretation. “She captured every aspect of the farm and vineyard,” said Rush. “What I was really impressed about was the way she captured my grandmother’s house.” The ceramic and steel piece depicts the family’s ancestral home surrounded by intertwining arms of fruit-bearing vines.

The Williams are hosting their 11th annual Muscadine Festival on Labor Day weekend. Muscadines are America’s first grape and are recognized for their nutritional and health benefits.

According to the Department of Agriculture, the skin, pulp, and seeds of muscadine grapes contain significant amounts of resveratrol the compound in French red and white wines that acts as an agent for lowering cholesterol levels and the risk of coronary heart disease.

The Williams sell this concentrated source in capsule form, which is available at the C. Williams Rush Gallery/Museum at 200 Hampton Ave. in Kingstree.

For more information about the Williams Vineyard and Farm and the festival contact Ms. Rush at (803) 397-1859 or email Cassandra.w.rush@aol.com.

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