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Provocative Memphis exhibit puts focus on black-on-black violence

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- At the National Civil Rights Museum, call it an artistic vision of violence showcased in a new exhibit on black-on-black crime.

Michael Loritts traveled from Nashville to visit the museum with his family.

"Because it seems like when Dr. Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks stood for something, and now we are killing our own," Loritts said.

This powerful series of drawings is called "Kin Killin' Kin," or KKK.

Artist James Pate uses charcoal and paper to depict black youth wearing KKK hoods and apparel.

The exhibit compares black-on-black crime to violence against the black community by the Klan.

Noelle Trent is director of interpretation, collections and education at the NCRM.

"I think it's relevant not just because of the nature of gun violence in the community, but particularly in Memphis. This is gang violence happening across the nation," Trent said.

It's an arresting approach and one designed to shock those who see it, such as Jessica Harper of Memphis.

"I've never seen anything depicted this way. It's different. It makes you think about our community and where we are," Harper said.

Walking through the exhibit, visitors will see pictures, along with an hourglass filled with shell casings and crime tape posted along the walls.

Visitors such as Jim Hershey of St. Louis called the exhibit fascinating.

"Here's an artist rendition of what's going on in society today and combining them with things that have gone on in the past, also not so great," Hershey said.

The exhibit speaks to so many different levels, especially to those directly impacted by crime.

Family and friends will be allowed to write down the name of someone they know impacted by gun violence and hang it along a memorial fence.

"Too often we hear on the news about there was a gunshot here, and it becomes white noise. We want a visual representation of how this has impacted the Memphis community," Trent said.

It's art capturing urban crime with hopes of encouraging people to come together and reduce violence seen everyday on the streets.

"Kin Killin' Kin" will be on display at the National Civil Rights Museum through April.