Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Last weekend white supremacists, neo-Nazis and other hate groups invaded our University and community. While we affirm every American’s constitutional right to freedom of speech and peaceful protest, we abhor and condemn the actions of those who brought bigotry and violence to our community. We wish to express our deepest sympathies to the victims of violence and their loved ones.
We at Kluge-Ruhe value equality, inclusion and respect for one another. Our exhibitions and programs are intended to expose and counter racism in many forms, whether perpetrated in a highly visible way by individuals and groups fueled by hate, or more subtly by governments and institutions whose policies ignore history and reinforce disadvantage.
Indigenous Australians maintain that much of their history of invasion, subjugation and genocide has been covered up by settler narratives contributing to a national “amnesia.” We Americans are also guilty of willful forgetting when it comes to our history. That is why cross-cultural dialogues with Indigenous artists, whose work draws attention to this whitewashed history and its legacies of discrimination and injustice, are so relevant and beneficial to us. Many of Kluge-Ruhe’s exhibitions and programs this fall will focus on this specific issue and we invite you to participate fully in these events.
To our friends outside of Charlottesville, and especially those in Australia who are receiving very brief reports about last weekend, we deeply appreciate the concern and support you have shown over the past few days. We want to reassure you that the horrifying events of this past weekend are not commonplace in our normally peaceful and progressive community and the staff of Kluge-Ruhe, our colleagues at the University and the people of Charlottesville welcome you. We are committed to providing a safe and inclusive place to listen to, learn from and reflect on the experiences of Indigenous Australians and people of color worldwide.
Margo Smith AM, Henry F. Skerritt, Nicole Wade, Lauren D. Maupin and Fenella Belle
Staff of the Kluge-Ruhe Collection