'This text is mine': Artist claims authorship of Union exhibit portion containing n-word

By  | 

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- The artist behind a controversial exhibit at The Union for Contemporary Art issued a statement Friday claiming authorship of the words previously attributed to a well-known African American writer.

A window has been broken at the Union for Contemporary Art in the midst of a debate over an exhibit.

"In this text, I detail something that happened to me on the SOUTH SIDE OF PITTSBURGH," artist Vanessa German wrote in an email to 6 News.

The statement comes after Omaha Police were called to the location around 8:30 p.m. Thursday on reports that one of the windows displaying quotes — one that includes the n-word — previously attributed to black American author Toni Morrison had been smashed.

"It is the text that I WROTE that is causing protest," German says in her statement. "This text is MINE. It is not Toni Morrison’s text."

Broken glass now underscores a community clash that surfaced over an exhibit at The Union for Contemporary Art.

Earlier this week, "North Omaha residents had gathered at the site for discussion of a display at the front of the building that sparked the dispute.

Some in the community have said the exhibit should be removed. Others have said the work needs to be considered in its proper context.

At this point, the circumstances of how the window was broken remain unknown.

Full statement from the artist


"3. 2 windows of text: the first text is MINE. It poems incarnations of survival shape-shifting— the reasons and ways that humans with Black and Brown bodies on this land must inhale deep, secret, resilient survival skills to endure the daily, incremental terrorisms facing body and soul. How we maneuver to continue in the house of joy and spirit. It is the text that I WROTE that is causing protest. This text is MINE. It is not Toni Morrison’s text.

"In this text I detail something that happened to me on the SOUTH SIDE OF PITTSBURGH: I was reading a poem in a multi-use bar space. A young white man was standing at the bar. He tipsy turns to me and opens up his hoodie to reveal a black t-shirt with a pink heart in the center. In the center of the heart are the words, “Nigger Lover.” The young white man points to these words and asks me if i like his t-shirt. In the text that lives on the windows of this installation i detail the out-of-body experience that followed this interaction.

"It is this text that has caused protest.
It is this text that has brought threats of violence to humans and property.

"It is this text, where i, as a Queer, Black Womxn, speak to a violence done to me. I out the action of this young white man as violence. I detail, in poem, my healing process. In fact. The entire action is a healing process.

"It is this text that members of the Omaha community seek to silence, under threat of violence, property destruction and rage."


This is a developing story. Stay with 6 News for updates.