Dozens of community members gathered in the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art’s Skylight Gallery for the unveiling of a recently acquired piece of art, “La Pieta,” by Atlanta artist Shanequa Gay, who was present at the event.

The museum acquisition is a special one, as a group of students, together with Oglethorpe’s Student Government Association, successfully led the initiative to purchase the work for the museum to expand the diversity of the artists represented in the museum’s permanent collection, and to better reflect the diversity of Oglethorpe’s student body. The artwork is a gift on behalf of all current students. This is the first known effort of its kind.

The unveiling was led by Student Body President Brad Firchow ’19, sophomore Taylor Roberts, Oglethorpe’s first Mellon Foundation Curatorial Fellow, and junior Jordan Madison, Black Student Caucus President.

The powerful work, which students selected themselves, was inspired by Michelangelo’s “La Pieta” and depicts an African American mother cradling her deceased son, a commentary on contemporary social and racial climate according to the artist.

Ms. Gay’s work is included in several major collections, including those of actor Samuel L. Jackson and former First Lady Michelle Obama.

Shanequa Gay received her AA in Graphic Design and Fashion Marketing from the Art Institute of Atlanta (1999), a BA in Painting from The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), summa cum laude (2015), and is currently an MFA candidate at Georgia State University.

Read more about the artist.

Students, OUMA unveil painting acquisition