The First Meeting

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This piece aims to juxtapose Iowa’s progressive aims with its oppressive past. The centerpiece of this block is a poster publicizing an anti-slavery meeting which took place in Iowa. While anti-slavery meetings such as this one were necessary in the push towards abolition, the artist urges Iowans to explore their state’s relationship to slavery on a deeper level. The artist has incorporated chain-like strands of metal to symbolize the bondage of enslaved peoples, and depictions of genetic material captures the implications of slavery for actual living organisms. While Grinnellians may sometimes put their town on a pedestal for its historic abolitionist position and refusal to join the Confederate Army, this block calls attention to the pain and suffering that still occurred in this state at the hands of racism and white supremacy.