Counter/Narratives: (Re)Presenting Race & Ethnicity

An exhibition at Olin Library examining how counter-narratives emerge through contemporary artwork and critical reinterpretations of historic objects. 

The Counter/Narratives exhibition examines the ways in which objects and ideas are preserved, collected, and contested through archives and investigates the (re)presentation of historical narratives through artwork and artifacts. The exhibition especially aims to uncover and celebrate the often-obscured agency within and around these objects, exploring their role in building counter-narratives related to race, respect, interconnection, and belonging

Among the (counter)narratives the exhibition explores is the relationship between our institution and the history and legacy of slavery. A series of portraits subverts and expands the familiar focus on the anti-slavery position of William Greenleaf Eliot, spotlighting early pro-slavery institutional leaders and benefactors - including John O’Fallon, Henry Shaw, Wayman Crow, and others - and putting this counter-narrative in dialogue with similar acts of revision, recontextualization and reckoning taking place in contemporary art. For more about the exhibition visit Olin Exhibitions online.

Pictured: Henry Shaw, 1860 U.S. Census –Slave Schedules, St. Louis Township; Henry Shaw, Photograph by J.A. Scholten, ca.1882. Courtesy Missouri Historical Society. Photo composite by Ian Lanius.