Dr. Alisea McLeod interviews lead artist, Ruth Andrews,
Pre-Installation, May 2010
Question to artist: If or when adjustments to your vision have been made, what effect has such adjustment had on you personally and professionally as an artist?
Response: I’ve developed a new definition of creativity. Artists and patrons normally place a high value on
originality, yet, in our project, originality had to take a back seat to seeing through collective eyes. Creativity is now about meeting my aesthetic standards while satisfying the committee and representing the Kentucky Raid in a way the public can appreciate. Without the committee, I wouldn’t have been sensitive enough to avoid certain pitfalls.
Question to artist: What might the Kentucky Raid mural teach the public? What has the experience of creating it taught you so far?
Response: I hope viewers will wonder about and imagine the lives of every character represented. One of my favorite characters is the baby; the baby represents the destruction of families. I think about how the baby’s mother bolted out the window in fear, but her baby’s cry drew her out of hiding and in to captivity. The mother reacted instinctively in both situations – she did not have the leisure of making decisions. We now have the responsibility of creating a society that supports rather than destroys families. What ought we to do? Why aren’t we doing it? In roughly six generations, we have moved from slavery to choosing a black president. Even though we have a long way to go toward racial equity, we are finding our way.
For the complete interview- and others- see our National Gallery of Writing Collection!