Client: Parco Archeologico di Selinunte e Cave di Cusa
Location: Selinunte, Italy
Completion date: 2019
Ysabel Pinyol Blasi
The question begs one to consider how it is that we identify those who are often the closest to us. From birth, one’s identity is formed in relation to what we are surrounded by. Later, we begin to self identify through interests, dislikes, gender, culture, religion, occupation, and geography the things that they feel are the most pressing to convey to others who we are. While ‘identity’ is made up of many deeply personal elements, it is also something that requires constant explanation for others throughout a lifetime. In the recent decades of our global society, it has become far more common to be defined by what divides us, rather than how people are unified. Eugene Lemay explores one’s relationship to place through Amerkia, which is influenced by the effects of polarizing politics on the people of a nation. Here, the most iconic example of a nationally unifying symbol is used to question the truth of what the flag represents. The removal of all color from the American flags prompts the viewer to address the importance of these symbols and to even the validity of them. By examining how groups continue to unite under these national ideals, or increasingly divide over them Lemay harkens back to questions that address the conviction needed to maintain a national identity.
As our behaviors create the history of those who will come after us, “Are you my Mother” implores that we each examine our unique positionally as the keepers of our own narratives. By refusing to lie about their own histories the artists of this exhibit beg the question of how we can continue to empathize with each other, despite differentiating opinions of family and national identity. With more opportunity to share personal histories than ever before, this show invites viewers to ask themselves how they are choosing to use their unique positionally to emphasize the similarities and differences to those around them.