Sum of My Father
National Veterans Art Museum Chicago, IL
On View Through September 2018
Ewing’s Sum of My Father installation and selections from his Untethered series are on view at the National Veterans Art Museum in the exhibition Artifacts through September 2018.
Bringing together photography, sculpture, and installation, the show serves to expand the definition of “artifact” and examine the ways in which collected objects hold meaning and significance for people, societies, and history impacted by war. The exhibition also features Michael Rakowitz, Jim Lommasson, Alicia Dietz, Phillip Schladweiler, and Drew Cameron.
Sum of My Father consists of twenty Army green blankets folded with military precision as a tribute to Ewing’s father, who fought in Vietnam and served twenty years in the Air Force. Ewing said that he folded the blankets in the same way the American flag that his mother now has for his father is folded. The series "Untethered, Stories of the Fillmore:” A Collaborative Project with Monica Lundy and Rodney Ewing, focuses on images from the early to mid 20th-century, when the Fillmore District of San Francisco was a Japanese neighborhood, through the Japanese Internment during World War II. As the Japanese left, the area became a thriving African American neighborhood and musical epicenter known as Harlem of the West—ultimately terminating with the Redevelopment Period that displaced the entire community and destroyed thousands of San Francisco’s oldest homes. This body of work is an investigation into local history, racism, displacement, and destruction of community.
Ewing, a veteran, writes, “Place is more than just a geographic reference point, it holds our memories, establishes our identities, and is the foundation for our future. Without a person’s ability to establish roots, they become bystanders of their own existence. The concepts of departure, wandering, and disappearance have been part of African American culture since the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade. What happens if all physical trace of your ancestors has been removed? What do you call home?”