Black or Hawaiian? Hindu or Mexican? Indio, Mestizo, or Pardo? My family history is a question mark, an ongoing story of performing racial difference, of not fitting, transgressing, ducking, and refusing racial and ethnic checkboxes. Yet this question-mark history becomes its own kind of X-mark, retelling the histories of colonization and immigration, crossed-out nations and crossed-borders. The technique I used in this piece, I learned from photographic documentation of an unnamed Navajo artist’s weaving of the U.S. flag around 1900. This weaver wove invisible slits into the horizontal stripes of the flag, leaving it structurally in tatters, yet visibly whole. Are we in this so-called invincible summer, on the streets, in our homes, also weaving vulnerability into the systems of oppression and erasure upon which the U.S. still depends? As we live through the outworkings of postcolonialism in the language of French-Alergian writers like Albert Camus, Frantz Fanon, or Assia Djebar, we find ourselves living into the language of decarceration, Black Lives Matter, anti-racism. Will it be enough? Will this summer be our X-mark that declares America's history of freedom in the wake of enslavement, of life in the wake of genocide, of hope in the wake of death? At least both my parents are brown.
Eleanor Harwood Gallery, "Intrusions", Exhibition: January 11th - February 29th, 2020 Minnesota Street Project, "Invincible Summer", Group Show, June 22nd - August 29th, 2020