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Charlottesville accepts Aug. 12 memorial art exhibit

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The Downtown Mall was packed with people during a day-long peace gathering in Charlottesville on Aug. 19, 2017. A Downtown Mall photo exhibit will to celebrate lives while remembering the violent and deadly Aug. 12, 2017 white supremacist rally. The exhibit will not feature photos of violence.

Charlottesville will honor and remember those killed and injured in the deadly Aug. 12, 2017 white supremacist “Unite The Right” rally with an art installation displayed on the Downtown Mall, thanks to the donation of a local photographer.

Eze Amos, a Charlottesville-based photojournalist, is donating the memorial installation, entitled the “The Story of Us: Reclaiming the Narrative of #Charlottesville through Portraits of Community Resilience.”

The memorial will consist of between a dozen and 16 printed photographs on vinyl, attached to and displayed within the trees along the Downtown Mall. According to the proposal, no images of violence will be used.

The components of the memorial would be attached to various trees along the Downtown Mall, accompanied by QR codes that will allow the public to listen to audio recordings of individual stories about moments captured within the photographs.

Amos has taken photos for The New York Times, NPR, Getty Images and The Washington Post.

The goal of the project is to allow those personally affected by the events of the Unite The Right rally to reclaim their stories. The audio recordings will feature Charlottesville residents telling their stories about events and their lives in Charlottesville before, during and after Aug. 11-12, 2017.

“These personal narratives will illustrate what we know to be true about Charlottesville. It is a city with a complex history and many flaws, but it is also a place of resilience, of unity, of art, and of joy,” the proposal states.

“National media outlets have portrayed our community in negative ways and overlooked all of the ways we’ve moved toward a better understanding of one another and our city’s history,” the proposal states. “This project allows our community to share their personal stories that are unseen and untold, giving voice and opportunities to share stories beyond the media’s narrative.”

The City Council voted unanimously to accept the donation from Amos at its Tuesday meeting. Councilor Sena Magill will act as the council liaison for the project.

“Amos is a very, very capable photographer. I’ve admired his work for years. I’m confident we will be very pleased with what the public will see,” Mayor Lloyd Snook said.

“Everybody’s got their own version of what happened that day,” he said. “Part of what makes [Amos’] vision for this so compelling is he’s going to have 15 or 16 people tell their vision of what happened to them.”

Councilor Michael Payne said he’d like the city to also look into a more permanent memorial to Aug. 12, 2017.

“The events of Aug. 11 and 12 continue to define the past several years in our community, and our politics. I think it’s something we should memorialize,” Payne said.


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