Ken Gonzales-Day on his Long-Term Exploration of Racial Violence in America

 

This Day (Re-enactment of a lynching, McCook, S.D., 1925), Erased Lynching Series, 2013

Excerpt:

Artist and photographer Ken Gonzales-Day explores the history of racial violence in America and a survey of his work, Shadowlands, which opens today and runs through April 16 at the Minnesota Museum of American Art, investigates how this history informs our current reality.

Among the works is Gonzales-Day’s series Erased Lynching, a set of digitally altered 19th and 20th century lynching postcards, where hanged figures of various races have been removed by the artist, allowing the remaining participants to take focus. The show also includes Gonzales-Day’s project Searching for California’s Hang Tree, a series of landscape photographs of lynching sites, and “Run Up,” a short film re-enacting a lynching and juxtaposing it with photographs from the Ferguson protests.

What got you interested in exploring the history of lynching?

It started around the (second) [president] Bush. There was talk about building the wall between the U.S. and Mexico, and there were all of these vigilantes who started hunting Mexicans and shooting them down on their property or tracking down undocumented persons crossing the U.S./Mexico border. I found that disturbing. I was trying to find a way to talk about it, to think about the history of that and why that was so upsetting for me as a Mexican-American.

Source: American Photo Magazine


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