Rodney Ewing’s latest series, Broken Shadows began during the 2020 pandemic’s shelter-in-place. Originally created as a way to structure his time, the project evolved into a mining of his old silkscreens and ledger papers collected while an artist-in-residence at San Francisco’s Recology center. The work continues conversations about diaspora, place and identity with complex layerings of imagery where the visual depth mirrors the intensity of the subject matter. Pieces of Ewing’s archival material are now mixed with silkscreened images of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery alongside other figures and moments from African-American history.
Adama Delphine Fawundu’s work takes the ancient West African deity, Mami Wata, as a departure point and builds on her engagement with her Mende heritage of Sierra Leone. Linking known and under-recognized geographies of the African diaspora, Fawundu’s work upends national and temporal borders. Water and hair are two textures that permeate the work. For Fawundu, water symbolizes the horrific journey of slavery and the journey that her parents chose when they moved to the US. Hair remains a socially-engineered construct of beauty and was also used as a mapping device for runaway slaves through the formation of cornrows. Uncovering nuanced entanglements within such sources of oppression, Fawundu re-imagines and glorifies the strength of her identity, culture, and network of kin.
Rodrigo Valenzuela’s New Land constructs scenes and narratives that point to the tensions between individuals and the societies in which they live often highlighting the experiences of undocumented immigrants and laborers. Valenzuela considers the ideology of Manifest Destiny as well as the failures of the Homestead Acts that quickened the settlement of public land west of the Mississippi River. Valenzuela’s images of barren desert landscapes, the iconographic American West, invoke both these ideas of expansion and opportunity as well as painful histories of erasure that resonate with present-day debates on immigration, border control, gentrification, and climate change.
A collection of photograms from Giorgia Valli called Universo express a desire to materialise the restlessness of daily thoughts, dreams and interior worlds. Made with the ground from her childhood garden, she investigates both memories and the reality of her present life tracking the migration pattern of personal life experience. By attempting to map her own subconscious, she seeks to create a visual proof or record of her own unconscious mind and then creates her own system for decoding and understanding the maps with legends made of symbols and braille-like markings. From this complex and involved process emerges the unique, Lyrical Constellations-photograms of mysterious encrypted symbols hand sewn on paper.