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Header image for the Counter/Narrative exhibition.
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John M. Olin Library, Level 1, Thomas Gallery

Counter/Narratives: (Re)presenting Race & Ethnicity

The Counter/Narrative exhibition examines the way in which objects are preserved and collected through archives, museums, and exhibitions and investigates ideas surrounding the (re)presentation of historical narratives through artwork and artifacts.

How do we relate to these objects, who uses them, and how? If libraries and archives are our cultural means of convening with the past, whose voice is telling the stories? This exhibition attempts to uncover and celebrate the often-obscured agency within these objects, exploring their counter-narratives related to race, respect, interconnection, and belonging.

This exhibition was organized by Professor of African & African American Studies and Sociology & American Culture Studies Geoff Ward and Exhibitions Manager Jessi Cerutti for the Washington University Libraries.

A TV with Martha Stewart and a cake is on in the background while in the foreground one hand is holding a bowl while a second pours liquid into it. A third hand is shown reaching for two cake mixes: A classic yellow cake mix and a classic white cake mix.
Yukui (Coy) Gu, No Synthetic Colors, 2019. Gouache, charcoal, and acrylic printed first page of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, colored pencil, gouache on the photograph, and cardboard on bristol board. 18 x 24 inches.


Represent logo has the name of the partnership - Represent! - in white on a blue background.

This exhibition is part of the Represent! Critical Engagements with Race and Ethnicity in the Arts partnership that brings together exhibitions, performances, films, lectures, and other arts and culture events connected by themes of race, ethnicity, and representation, taking place across Washington University during the 2021-2022 academic year. Partners include the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity & Equity; the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum; and Washington University Libraries. 

Credits for Header Images

  • (Left) 1860 U.S. Census – Slave Schedules, St. Louis Township; John O’Fallon, Steel Engraving by A.H. Ritchie, 1883. Courtesy Missouri Historical Society. Photo composite by Ian Lanius.
  • (Right) Kehinde Wiley, The Honourable Augustus Keppel, Admiral of the Blue II, 2006. Oil on canvas. Courtesy John and Karen Zappitelli.