Mulvane stays true to WUmester theme


Peter Turnley. Courtesy of Mulvane Art Museum

A soldier appears to guard something burning the distance in this photograph, taken by Peter Turnley, currently on display in Mulvane’s Truth exhibit. Turnley captured this image during the Gulf War. Peter Turnley, Gulf War, Kuwait, 1991, archival pigment print, Mulvane Art Museum Permanent Collection.

The stirring images portraying humankind’s fundamental truths and group stories can be seen in Mulvane’s upstairs gallery until construction of another gallery commences.

Work on display ranges from subject matter of war and religion to conviction of crime on various mediums including paint on canvas, photography, lithographs and mixed media from the museum’s permanent collection.

Connie Gibbons is the director of the Mulvane Art Museum and curated the exhibit, focused around the topic of the current WUmester.

“You’ll see that there are some works that examine and question the role of how violence gets played out in our world,” Gibbons said.

There is a photograph of an Operation Desert Storm soldier maintaining a vast cordon from a towering pillar of smoke in the distance.

There is also a photograph of the first night the memorial beams of light at the World Trade Center were turned on, imposed onto a cloudy night with searchlights, titled “Freedom Lights.”

The traditional perspectives of some fundamental truths have typically omitted certain aspects, and what the exhibit aims to accomplish is offer access to those insights that might for some, have never been seen yet, or rather, thought of.

One painting mixes fantastical elements into Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative, the “Star Wars program.”

This is WUmester’s fourth semester on campus. With the theme of truth, the topic is aimed to get students engaged in difficult conversations.

“This WUmester is trying to get us to think about is what is our truth with a capital T?,” said Kelly Erby, assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “What is objectively true? Whose truths are believed and whose are subject to scrutiny?”

Trueness is an inescapable factor of life that exists beyond museum walls and campus sidewalks.

“Truth is complicated, and I think it is nuanced. And our understanding of the world is fed by so many experiences that we have,” Gibbons said. “I think there’s factual truth. I think there is that kind of truth that even today seems to be questioned at times, which just seems insane.”

When the aforementioned construction begins in Mulvane is tentative, so the exhibit’s open status can be confirmed by calling 785-670-1124.

Edited by: Simran Shrestha, Glorianna Noland