Campus News

Art Work in Young Library Celebrates New UKCore



LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 18, 2011) — The University of Kentucky's W.T. Young Library is now hosting a major 10-panel art work titled "Nation of Nations," installed in recognition of a central theme of UK's new general education curriculum to be implemented in fall 2011.  "Nation of Nations" is the work of Lexington artist Marjorie Guyon. A formal celebration of the exhibit will take place during the fall semester and will be open to both the UK and greater Lexington communities.

The piece of art serves as an emblem of the new UK undergraduate general education program, named UKCore.  Some of the curricular components of UKCore will require all undergraduates to explore the arts and creativity through performative-based course work and embrace the ideas of citizenship in a contemporary context. "Nation of Nations" is an exploration of people, place and promise through a stunning visual representation. 

Guyon said her work “represents the fundamental principle that we all shoulder the responsibility the writers of the U.S. Constitution proclaimed: ‘to form a more perfect union.'”


This public art project includes a series of 10 works embodying the spirit of many different peoples and creeds: Incan, Kenyan, Mexican, Moroccan, Cherokee, Hindu, Hebrew, Creole, Arab and Russian. Each panel is a 6-foot-8-inch figure — a bit taller than human scale.  On each one, the phrase, “Have Mercy on Us,” is written in a different language: Cherokee, Chinese, English, Arabic, Hindi, Hebrew, Swahili, Latin, Russian and Haitian Creole.  In addition the titles of the 10 paintings echo the anthems, "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" and "America the Beautiful."

"Concepts of diversity, inclusion and community are essential elements of UKCore," said UK Provost Kumble Subbaswamy. "It is only fitting, therefore, that 'Nation of Nations,' which makes manifest those values, will reside for the 2011-12 academic year in the W.T. Young Library, the academic core of the University."

Mike Mullen, associate provost for Undergraduate Education, said, “Guyon’s art work is at once aesthetically rich and intellectually provocative, and as such symbolizes the university’s commitment to the transformative purposes of general education."


In December 2010, UK's University Senate approved the implementation of a new curriculum in general education, beginning with the fall 2011 semester. The affirmative vote of the university’s faculty governance body marked the culmination of a multi-year undertaking to reform this core curriculum, the first such comprehensive revision of general education in a generation.  To celebrate this reform, UK will sponsor numerous campus events throughout the 2011-12 academic year, to which campus and the wider communities of Lexington and the Bluegrass Region will be invited. 

UKCore is a course of study that all students, regardless of major, must complete. It lays the foundation for the lives of graduates in the workplace and homeplace, and in their communities.  It embodies what the university believes every graduate will need in order to compete in a global marketplace, participate in democratic self-governance, and live a well-intentioned and meaningful life.

Further details about the "Nation of Nations" celebration event, slated for late August or early September in the W.T. Young Library, will be released later this summer.

MEDIA CONTACT:  Whitney Hale, (859) 257-1754, ext. 229; or Hayley Lynch, (859) 257-1754, ext. 228;