Artist Ann Rice O’Hanlon’s 1930s work in Memorial Hall depicts several scenes in the history of Kentucky, including a Native American wielding a tomahawk and African Americans picking crops. Some students protested last spring, so the university has decided to move mandatory classes for Spring 2020 out of the building.
There’s only one problem. The mural is already covered. Administrators covered it after the protests so it wouldn’t offend anyone.
This isn’t the first time the mural has caused a dust-up.
After protests over the painting in 2015, the university hired an artist to add more images of African Americans to the dome of the building, but the new additions by Karyn Olivier, a self-described black immigrant female gay artist, weren’t enough to stop the hurt feelings.
Now university officials want more dialogue with anyone willing to talk about the mural to figure out the next step.
Not everyone sees it as a reason for teeth gnashing and cloth tearing.
UK student Kiara Pryor told Campus Reform that she understands why this is an important topic, but sees it differently.
“The mural only shows us how far we have come as African Americans and being half African American, I can respect and relate to that. Especially at a major university, I think that we should see works of art like the mural, or Robert E. Lee statues and be able to reflect and have a dialogue instead of throwing a tantrum about it.”
There are voices of reason on campus, just not in the administration buildings.