On Martin Luther King Jr. Day (January 16), more than 300 Arkansas Tech students quietly marched through the Russellville, Arkansas campus in both celebration and protest.Many students at the university had problems with the exhibitions displayed in the regular hall art gallery On campus, it deemed its content to be “racially insensitive” and used the march as a forum to partially protest the works on display.
The work in question is a mixed-media sculpture by artist Dominic Simmons, clan bride—A macabre, grotesque portrait depicting a corpse figure covered in a translucent Confederate flag. In the wake of the march, Simmons requested it clan bride Her other works were removed from the gallery and the show ended as a result.
in an interview with ABC7Jace Bridges, president of the school’s African-American Students Association, described the university’s decision to exhibit the work in the campus art gallery as a “calculated” one. Is it there, why did the artist choose to make it, what does it really mean to someone?” he asked. “I think they could have done better, and I think they’re more focused on protecting the wrong party and putting the wrong party at ease,” he said. I think the focus is on letting
Others framed the protest and the artist’s decision in the context of ongoing debates about free speech on college campuses. Kristen Shahverdian, Senior Manager, Freedom and Education Programs, said in a statement: The decision to close the show “deprives all students and campus stakeholders of the opportunity to see and work with this art,” it said. She added, “How can we consider America’s history of racism and racial violence if our institutions shut down opportunities to use art for public engagement? ?” is added.
However, Shahverdian and the Arkansas Tech protesters agree on one important point. That is, university administrators should have done more to contextualize work and create a forum for dialogue. “Cultural curators, especially cultural curators at academic institutions, have a responsibility to curate artistic content for the public, taking into account how it will be received, especially when it comes to sensitive topics. That’s right,” he said Shahverdian.
Simmons, a Little Rock-based white artist, has not made any official statements about the meaning of the work or its removal other than to request its removal.