This work was selected by Erica Lavista (class of 2021), who explains: “Ruth Morgan’s Precenda is characterized by its composition, and at the same time, the powerful message it carries. As a medium, photography captures a moment in time, and the images it produces carry a significant relationship and meaning to the world. The African American school-girl faces us with complete conviction, challenging the viewer to reflect on the racism, poverty, and marginalization she has fought every day of her life. She is a symbol of strength, taking a stance against the history of unequal access to education and justice. Here, the camera becomes a tool for social change, uncovering the reality experienced by people of color. Precenda, like other documentary art, acts as a source of reflection. Namely, it allows us to think critically about our world and challenge its boundaries. In light of this, should we accept the world as it is? Or should we become agents for change?”
The Vault, which also houses some of the works from our permanent collection, is dedicated to featuring and displaying works chosen by MSU students who work at the museum. Each month, one of our student gallery guides selects a piece from our collection and writes a short text explaining why they chose it and believe it should be displayed. By providing our gallery guides with an opportunity to participate in the curatorial process of selection and display, we aim to open a dialogue with the student community while simultaneously sharing with the public works from the collection that would otherwise remain in storage.