Untethered, a collaboration between Rodney Ewing and Monica Lundy, 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.
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?
Untethered was awarded a San Francisco Arts Commission Grant in 2015, and appeared at Nancy Toomey Fine Art in Untethered – Stories of the Fillmore District, an exhibition held October 1 to November 26, 2016.