A huge arrangement of mainly pale pink, orange, and yellow flowers is piled atop a nude male torso that leans back in front of a densely patterned black-and-white wallpaper

One History, Two Versions

Sam and Connie Perkins Central Court, 317; Dolph Simons Family Gallery, 316; Estelle S. and Robert A. Long Ellis Foundation Gallery, 315

One History, Two Versions, a companion exhibition to Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley: Let the World See, features art by contemporary Black artists that expands on themes in the traveling exhibition including Black life, Black love, media representation, and activism. It draws on Emmett and Mamie’s legacies to explore both historical and contemporary events of racial violence and racial justice movements.

The title of the exhibition comes from a work of the same name by Deborah Roberts and references how racial injustices are perceived and reported differently through various media channels. Works featuring Black mothers and children reinforce Mamie’s love and motivation to seek justice for her son. Other artworks speak to more recent events including the murders of Trayvon Martin and Breonna Taylor.

Visitors will encounter the perspectives of community leaders from local racial justice organizations who provide their own stories and interpretation of the art on view. Community partners include the Lawrence Branch of the NAACP, NAACP Youth Council of Lawrence, B.L.A.C.K. Lawrence, the Lawrence/Douglas County Community Remembrance Project Coalition, and Justice for Wyandotte.

The exhibition includes works from the Spencer Museum’s collection alongside loans from The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and Bill and Christy Gautreaux.

This exhibition and related programming are co-sponsored by the KU Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging; the KU Office of the Provost; the KU Office of Research; the KU Hall Center for the Humanities; KU African and African-American Studies; KU Department of Communication Studies; the Langston Hughes Center; KU Student Senate; the National Endowment for the Humanities; and Humanities Kansas, which connects Kansans with stories, ideas, and each other to strengthen our communities. Additional funding comes from Friends of the Art Museum, the Linda Inman Bailey Exhibitions Fund, and Duane Morris LLP.

Selected images