A little over a year after the tragic death of Breonna Taylor, a new art exhibit in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, is honoring her life and legacy, while also spotlighting larger issues of gun violence and police brutality in the U.S.
On display now at the Speed Art Museum, the "Promise, Witness, Remembrance" exhibit most notably features Amy Sherald's portrait of Taylor, which was used as the cover of Vanity Fair's September 2020 issue. This is the first time the portrait has been displayed publicly.
Beyond Sherald's portrait, the exhibit also includes the work of more than 20 artists, representing a wide range of lived experiences. The name "Promise, Witness, Remembrance" alludes to the exhibit's themes, and galleries are divided into different sections that reflect these words.
The experience starts with the "Promise" gallery, where contemporary artists use a variety of mediums to explore the foundations of the U.S., including its history and promises, as well as the reality of how people experience — or don't experience — these basic tenets of being American. In the "Witness" galleries, a multigenerational group of artists showcase works that reflect the period they were created in, with a focus on the idea of resistance across time, form, and context.
The exhibition culminates with the "Remembrance" section, which displays artwork that addresses gun violence and police brutality, their victims, and their legacies. The art shown here includes Kerry James Marshall's "Lost Boys: AKA BB" (1993), Nick Cave's "Unarmed" (2018), and Amy Sherald's portrait of Breonna Taylor (2020).
The "Promise, Witness, Remembrance" exhibit is on display now through June 6, 2021, and admission is free. For those who can't make it to Louisville, photos of the artwork are available for viewing on the Speed Art Museum website.
Jessica Poitevien is a Travel + Leisure contributor currently based in South Florida, but she's always on the lookout for her next adventure. Besides traveling, she loves baking, talking to strangers, and taking long walks on the beach. Follow her adventures on Instagram.
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