"Lynching" quilt shocks some Central Library visitors

LaShawnda Crowe Storm wants the artwork to be a teaching tool.

An exhibit at the Indianapolis Central Library includes a piece of art that many people will view as controversial.

It focuses on the lynching of an African-American woman in 1911. While there are records of women being lynched in America, Laura Nelson is the only such victim whose picture was taken. A quilt that displays the image is generating some emotional reactions.

It's not often a library art display can elicit serious emotions.

"It's offensive to me just looking at it," said Chris Henderson.

"I think it's beautiful," said Abigail Fatnassi.

Some onlookers were shocked by the image.

"The Lynching of Laura Nelson" is a quilt that features a 1911 photograph of an African-American woman hanged in Oklahoma. The artist hopes it can be a teaching tool.

The quilt's fabric comes from women around the country who wanted to participate in the project. But make no mistake. It's the picture at the center that visitors are focused on.

"It's bringing more attention and more noise than it should be bringing. It's not something you hang up like this," said Fred Jackson, library visitor.

"You don't hear about peonage. You don't hear about much of the other things that happened so, hey," said Ron Hubbard, a library visitor who applauded the artwork.

"We have to deal with it head on. I know that it could be painful for some people. I know that some people are angry, some people cry," said LaShawnda Crowe Storm, artist.

Curator Anthony Radford has displayed controversial art before, but this quilt copied from a real photograph tops everything.

"Some people are disgusted with it and other say that it needs to be shown," said Anthony Radford, Meet the Artist curator.

Although the quiet quilt tells a loud story, some can't help but speak out.

"I get all colors, races and creed out here treating me bad because of stuff like this," said Chris Henderson, library visitor.

You can get your own look at the quilt featured in the Meet the Artist event starting Wednesday at the Central Library. The quilt and other artwork will be on display through March 23rd.