We at the Ackland Art Museum stand with members of Black communities worldwide in denouncing racism, violence against Black people, and police brutality. The killing of George Floyd is a recent expression of a centuries-old legacy of oppression endemic to our country’s social, political, and cultural structures.
Some may think that the work of an art museum is unrelated to these issues. To that, we say: Museums are not neutral. They have never been neutral. Museums as conceived in the Western context have been arbiters of elitism, colonialism, and oppression. This is a legacy that the Ackland is aware of and is addressing in reckoning with our own history.
We echo and support our partners at UNC-Chapel Hill and in the local community in their messages of solidarity. In order for us to fulfill the Ackland’s mission to spark insight into ourselves, each other, and the world, we hold space for difficult conversations around the realities we face today. And we vocally affirm that Black lives matter.
We acknowledge that we don’t have all the answers, and we recognize that this statement and others like it run the risk of meaning nothing unless institutions like ours back up our words with action. We are committed to listening to and learning from the invaluable voices of Black artists and community members, and we are committed to doing the work that is necessary to stand unequivocally against systemic racism.