Several works here address historical events from a contemporary perspective, while others reflect the values, traditions, and circumstances of their original context. They are displayed in dialogue as an invitation to you, the visitor, to engage with them and to reflect on their significance today.
Take the photograph by Dawoud Bey, a powerful image that memorializes those lost in a church bombing in Alabama in 1963 motivated by racial hate. Or the work by Lorna Simpson depicting the execution of two fugitive slaves. Consider these images in proximity to Shawn Theodore’s portrait of the poet Amanda Gorman who recited her poem The Hill We Climb at the 46th presidential inauguration last January. Her words, and her presence on a national stage empower us all to implement changes—however big or small they may be—to improve our world. The notion of resiliency embodied in the portrait is key.
Two other works here also connect to this theme. The sculpture in the center of this gallery by Daniel Lind-Ramos, celebrates the defeat of the British navy by Black Puerto Rican militias in the 18th century when the British empire attempted to conquer the island. While acknowledging dark chapters in our history, these works honor the resiliency of everyday people and remind us that we can chart a better path forward informed by the stories of the past. What elements resonate with you in this selection? Do you identify other works that convey the notion of resilience in this gallery?