Art exhibit of Ferguson unrest provokes thought

The art exhibit “Change the Narrative” drew a large crowd to Good Shepherd Gallery on opening night August 4 and generated deep reflection and conversation among viewers. The photographic works of Henry Chaney depict the positive outcomes in St. Louis that have emerged from the 2014 Ferguson unrest over the police killing of Mike Brown. An unrelated, add-on exhibit featured Black people wearing a royal crown.

“Showing Black people in their every day lives juxtaposed with the crown shows that whoever Black people are and whatever they do, they have value,” Henry said.

Art exhibit elicits personal responses

Art exhibit
Aiyana Davison said the photos on display were a reminder to her that television doesn’t portray life’s full reality of being Black.

People responded emotionally to both exhibits. Lynette Williamson said, “I”m a product of parents who lived through the civil rights marches and movement. Henry’s use of black and white photography tied in the civil rights era with what is happening today. That was powerful for me. The diversity, the people of faith, the urban scene he depicts took my breath away” said Lynette Williamson.

“The photos pull you in and allow you to relate. It’s interesting to see how Henry captured the Ferguson protests. He reminds us that what we see on TV isn’t all that’s going on,” said Aiyana Davison.

“A lot of portrayals of people that look like me are generally bad portrayals. The media presents one side. When people see me they don’t see a medical student at Washington University. This exhibit recognizes our humanity as Black people,” said Amal Taylor.

Art exhibit
Amal Taylor believes Henry Chaney’s photographs recognize the humanity of Black people.

“These are the photographs I’d like to see in the history books. History repeats itself. Things like Ferguson did not stop happening after civil rights, and they are likely to continue. The photograph with the arch makes me wonder how many protest marches the arch has seen,” said Mandie Sehr.

Good Shepherd Gallery Founder and Manager Glynis McManamon, RGS, said, “Henry and Good Shepherd have the same hope of healing. Henry sees God working in and through the situations we find ourselves in and bringing good to it.”

Jeanette McDermott

Jeanette McDermott

Jeanette is the Communications Coordinator for Sisters of the Good Shepherd Province of Mid-North America. She is a career photojournalist who has served in various capacities of print, broadcast, and corporate communications. Jeanette is devoted to creation and is particularly focused on saving pollinators and other wildlife species and their habitat. She is an ethical vegan and created the website