A display of shirts representing victims of racial violence is part of an exhibit by Renee Billingslea, opening Thursday at the Rosa Parks Museum.
“The Fabric of Race,” an exhibit by Renee Billingslea that examines racial violence and lynching in America, will open at Troy University’s Rosa Parks Museum on April 20 with an opening reception set for 6 p.m.
The exhibit, described as “a visual environment for all to enter, learn and contemplate racial violence and lynching,” is free for viewing in the museum’s Exhibit Hall during regular business hours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.
Ahead of Thursday’s opening reception, the museum will present Artist Talks with Billingslea at 6 p.m. on April 18 and 19 in the museum’s auditorium. Those wishing to attend the Artist Talks are asked to RSVP to Madeline Burkhardt, adult education coordinator, at 334-241-8701.
The installation includes hundreds of white dress shirts burned and stained, each with a hand-embroidered identity tag which hang from a gallery wall honoring forgotten victims. On a shelf sits an assortment of rusty canning jars, filled with disturbing images, body parts, teeth and ashes, objects that represent souvenirs collected by people who attended the thousands of lynchings of primarily black men, women and children in the United States.
In her current exhibit, Billingslea brings together aspects of her past installation with new work that addresses the perpetrators and lynch mobs. A line of hand-made hats that include text stating what each man experienced or the role he played as a mob member. The exhibit also includes several small or medium-sized mixed media pieces made from old books, photographs and thread.
Billingslea is currently a lecturer of photography at Santa Clara University in California. She lives in the Bay Area with her husband, actor Aldo Billingslea, and their daughter, Trinity.