Oklahoma City Museum of Art adds painting by Cynthia Daignault to its permanent collection.

Now open at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art is an exhibition centered around the painting Oklahoma by artist Cynthia Daignault, a work honoring the memory of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing in 1995. The exhibition, Cynthia Daignault: Oklahoma, will consist of Daignault’s black-and-white painting and will be on view on the second floor through December 31.  

“At first glance, this may feel like a reproduction of the well-known newspaper photograph of the bombed building, but as you get closer, you can see that Daignault used loose brushwork to confuse the image into almost chaotic lines.,” said OKCMOA Director of Curatorial Affairs and Audience Engagement Rosie May, Ph.D. 

Daignault first created a work based on the bombing to represent the year 1995 in her series What Happened from 2018, which chronicles the last one hundred years of American culture. She revisited it in 2021 to create Oklahoma. Daignault was a high school senior in Maryland when the bombing occurred, and the event left a lasting impression on her.   

Daignault’s thoughts on Oklahoma reflect the Museum’s goals for the exhibition experience: “It’s not a grand gesture … creating a monumental painting didn’t feel right. I wanted to create contemplation, quiet thoughtfulness, and sadness.” Visitors are encouraged to reflect on the tragedy, and the exhibition provides a response wall for individuals to leave notes and consider the shared impact of such a painful event. Additionally, the layout was designed so that visitors do not immediately encounter the painting but instead have the opportunity to take their time and view it when they are ready. 

In collaboration with the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, each institution will honor a $2 discount on general admission when museum-goers show their same-day ticket at the other museum. 

“In the days following April 19, 1995, art became a source of healing,” said Kari Watkins, President & CEO of the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum. “The Oklahoma City Museum of Art was gifted this painting to remember what happened. We are pleased to partner with them to encourage the learning of this story at the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum and to see the artwork in person at the Art Museum to ensure an understanding of the senselessness of violence.” 

OKCMOA acquired this painting with funds from an Oklahoma City Community Foundation grant in honor of the community volunteers who assisted in the recovery from the bombing