Update: UW library, curator reach pact on Gaza art exhibit
From Larry Johnson’s blog: Looking for Trouble.
There is good news. The University of Washington’s Odegaard Undergraduate Library and Amineh Ayyad, the curator of the “Global to Local: Narratives of War, Resilience and Peace” exhibit, have come to an agreement on getting it back up on the library walls starting Wed., April 21st.
Also, I’m happy to report that there was nothing sinister about the removal of the artwork. The library’s position was that all of the art should be displayed at once, and, apparently, there was one section of the exhibit that had not been posted yet. So, the library took down the work on display until Ayyad and the library had a chance to negotiate and make changes to satisfy various people connected to the exhibit.
“It breaks my heart to see this (the exhibit) take off this way,” Library Director Jill McKinstry said late this afternoon, adding that Ayyad had been working very hard to make this project work. She said the library certainly had made mistakes in posting the artwork without resolving all of the issues.
McKinstry said the “war” part of the exhibit was up but not the “resilience and peace” part, and she said there were concerns about traumatizing students who have to use the library and who have no choice about what they see on display.
“We didn’t want to throw it in their faces,” she said.
Ayyad, who has been doing all of the grunt work of getting the exhibit ready, said today that she is pleased that the library director “has finally met with her in person to bring forward a comprehensive list of the library’s concerns though I am unhappy about the unnecessary ongoing requests to change content of the exhibit and to omit educational contextual information.
”I am glad we reached an agreement to bring the exhibit back on display,” Ayyad said.
“Despite the fact that there will be fewer photos than were on display the past two weeks and other altered content, the exhibit will provide information to students that is rarely presented at the university,” she said.
“It is of great importance to spread knowledge about the devastating effects of war and health, especially mental health, and peacebuilding through health,” Ayyad said. “I apologize to the university and the larger community for not having the exhibition on display temporarily, and hope they will come and view it after April 21.
The art exhibit I wrote about on Wednesday that is, for the most part, about Gaza has been abruptly removed from the University of Washington Odegaard Undergraduate Library.
The exhibit curator, Amineh Ayyad, wrote me in an email this afternoon: “Confirming that the UW library has taken down the entire exhibition… . I will be going to the meeting with officials at the library by myself at 4:30PM today… . I will work with the group on producing in writing a comprehensive list of their concerns and requests to put the exhibit back on display, and so I can share with you and other supporters/sponsors.”
For now, however, please disregard the previous post. There is nothing to see at the UW library. As soon as the exhibit is back up, or as soon as I find out why it was removed, I will post about it here. Meanwhile, if anyone has any questions or concerns, it probably would be helpful to direct them to the library. The administration phone number is 206-685-3752. The general information number is 206-543-2990.