"History is written by the victors." How often have you heard this? This quote often comes into play when talking about a history or story that seems one-sided or incomplete. There is a deep truth at the heart of this glib statement. Those with the most power and influence have, through the centuries, written the script of who we were and, therefore, who we are. The "victors" control the documentation of history. They commission artworks and books, approve history textbooks, and choose the production of movies and television programs. This constructed history is a narrative borne from a specific viewpoint and limited by gender, ethnicity, and class. It is also what defines our values and community. Because of this, society suffers a great loss. It’s like listening to a song with only a few notes or a symphony that uses only one type of instrument. The experience is narrow and lacks the depth.
The artists in The Rest of History desire a richer, more complex historical narrative. Each one has an artistic practice that brings to light the stories and voices of those overlooked from history. A wider perspective is rarely pretty, and questions the moral integrity of everyone involved. But, it also offers a broader range of human stories and a more complex and interesting narrative. Through this exhibition, we can see that there is room for more characters in our human story. We are all better for it.
Organized by the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art. Curated by Alison Byrne, Director of Exhibitions and Education and Heather Hakimzadeh, Curator.
Teen Audio Tour: