The University of Kentucky has decided to once again display a controversial mural which had been covered up a year ago. The mural, painted in the 1930s by artist Ann Rice O’Hanlon, had been criticized for its portrayal of African Americans and American Indians in scenes depicting the history of the city of Lexington, home to the university. Among the images on the mural that offended many in the campus community was a depiction of slaves picking cotton.
Eli Capilouto, president of the University of Kentucky, decided that the mural would once again be available for public view. But the mural will be surrounded by other pieces of art that tell the history of the area from other diverse viewpoints. In addition, digital message boards will explain the history of the mural and the artist who painted it. “It is time to tell the story more completely,” President Capilouto said, “and through the eyes of many experiences – preserving the art as part of our history, but adding to it to tell a more complete and sensitively rendered story of our human experience.”
Below is a video produced by the university about the decision to once again make the mural available for public viewing.