Theaster Gates on how his new show was inspired by the eviction of 45 people from an island in Maine

Posted in Arts, Europe, History, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2019-02-11 01:14Z by Steven

Theaster Gates on how his new show was inspired by the eviction of 45 people from an island in Maine

The Art Newspaper
2019-02-01

Anna Swansom

Theaster Gates
Theaster Gates ©Theaster Gates; Photo: Julian Salinas

The Chicago-based artist’s exhibition in Paris examines the forced removal in 1911 of the inhabitants of Malaga Island

The US artist Theaster Gates has taken the eviction of a mixed-race community from a small island in Maine as the starting point for his first solo exhibition in France, opening this month at the Palais de Tokyo. In 1912, 45 people from Malaga Island were evicted by the state authorities and eight of them were committed to the Maine School for the Feeble-Minded following the state’s purchase of the island in 1911. The island, a poor fishing village of black, white and mixed-race people, was ridiculed in a Maine newspaper as a “strange community” of “peculiar people”; its eviction has recently been described by a US documentary as having been motivated by economics, racism, eugenics and political retribution.

Through new works including sculptures, a film and a video, the Chicago-based artist has developed the wide-ranging project and exhibition, Amalgam, which explores the complexity of interraciality and migratory histories. The show has been organised by Katell Jaffrès and has received support from Regen Projects, Richard Gray Gallery and White Cube.

The Art Newspaper: How did you become interested in the history of Malaga Island and how did this lead to Amalgam?

Theaster Gates: I had started a residency in 2017 at Colby College in Maine and was visiting a friend who said there was this important, not well-known history about this island that used to have black and mixed-race people that were evicted. We were in a boat and he suggested having lobsters on the adjacent island before checking it out. So I learned of it quite leisurely and then started to do research.

The idea of interracial mixing led to the creation of a sculptural form, “amalgam”: a by-product of what happens when one artistic form from history meets another one to create a new kind of work. I wanted to create a bridge that would make people more curious about this island and for people who are of mixed race and from backgrounds where their parents are of different religions, I wanted Malaga to be a place where all mixes felt that they had a home. The beauty of mixing is one of the cornerstones of the exhibition…

Read the interview article here.

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Provenance: A Novel

Posted in Books, Europe, History, Media Archive, Novels, Passing, United States on 2017-09-21 19:28Z by Steven

Provenance: A Novel

Creative Cache
2015-09-16
334 pages
5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
ISBN-13: 978-0991614325

Donna Drew Sawyer

  • Winner of the 2017 Maryland Writers’ Association Annual Book Award for Historical Fiction
  • Selected for the 2017 “Go On Girl Book Club” reading list
  • Finalist for 2016 “Phillis Wheatley Award for First Fiction.”

Southern civility turns savage when Hank Whitaker’s dying words reveal the unimaginable. No one—not his socialite wife, Maggie, or young son, Lance—ever suspected the successful businessman, husband, and father they knew and loved was a black man passing for white. In 1931, in the segregated South, marriage between whites and blacks is illegal. Maggie is now a criminal facing jail. When Lance receives death threats to atone for his father’s betrayal, the family flees the U.S. for the racial freedom of Paris.

Still grieving Hank’s death and fearful of their uncertain future as Europe marches toward war, Lance and Maggie mourn the lives they loved but lost. As they struggle to create new lives and identities for themselves, they find a surprising community of artists and American expats that are on the same journey and show them a different way to live and to love. Provenance is a sweeping historical saga about love, betrayal, tragedy, triumph, passion, privilege and the universal desire for acceptance—regardless of who you are or where you’re from.

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