Promise, Witness, Remembrance
The Speed Art Museum
From April 7 – June 6, 2021
Promise, Witness, Remembrance is currently exhibiting at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky, honoring the life of Breonna Taylor from April 7 to June 6, 2021, just over one year after her life was wrongfully taken merely a few months ahead of the Black Lives Matter protests that took the world by storm.
On March 13, 2020, Taylor, a 26-year-old African American woman, was fatally shot in her apartment when police officers forced entry into the ER technician’s home as part of an investigation into drug dealing operations. Although the officers claim they announced themselves as police prior to entering the apartment, Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, says he did not hear an announcement, and because he thought the officers were intruders, he fired a warning shot, hitting one of the officers in the leg. This resulted in the officers firing 32 shots, six of which hit and killed Taylor.
“The exhibition explores the dualities between a personal, local story, and the nation’s reflection on the promise, witness, and remembrance of too many Black lives lost to gun violence,” the website says.
Divided into three different sections, Promise explores the ideologies of the United States of America through the symbols that uphold them – national anthems, voting rights, constitutions, and a military that protects the rights of citizens. In it, artists reflect on the nation’s founding, history, and the promises and realities, both implicit and explicit, contained within those symbols and are forced to ask themselves: What does the promise of the United States mean to its citizens? For whom are these rights afforded? How do we ensure that these rights are protected in the future?
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As further described on the website, artists address the contemporary moment, building upon the gap between what a nation promises and what it provides through artworks that explore ideas of resistance across time, form, and context in Witness including Alisha Wormsley’s afro-futurist manifesto for Black lives and visual documentation of recent protests created by Louisville-based photographers. In Remembrance, artists address gun violence and police brutality, their victims, and their legacies.
With guidance from Taylor’s family, a Steering Committee of Louisville artists, activists, mental health professionals, researchers, and community members, artists from both Louisville, where the tragic incident took place, and across the U.S. are featured in the exhibition.
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Further offered with Promise, Witness, Remembrance is It Could Have Been Me, an online photo engagement exhibit that allows community members to reflect on themes that emerge from experiencing the exhibition such as Black joy, Black love, and Black family. This exhibit will launch in early May 2021 and will also feature three discussion sessions with three groups of eight participants.
For more information on purchasing tickets, click here.