Ishi Ishii: 31 Years of Freedom
August 29, 1911 to August 29, 1942
An Installation by Erik Bakke
Sunday 4.13.08, 4 pm - 7 pm
Saturday 4.19.08, 1 pm - 3 pm
Saturday 4.26.08, 1 pm - 3 pm
Ishi Ishii: 31 Years of Freedom, August 29, 1911 to August 29, 1942 is an installation of a total of 25 paintings and works on paper. The date in the title August 29, 1911 refers to the date when Ishi, considered the last Native Californian to live in the wild, came out of the woods, starving, to face modern California. August 29, 1942 is the approximate date when Chris Ishii (the Japanese American and Disney cartoonist who was interned in camps by the U.S. Government with other Japanese Americans during World War II) was moved from the Santa Anita internment camp of his home state of California to the Granada internment camp near La Mar, Co.
All the 25 paintings and works on paper are hung as a single installation, a single work. Each element of the work either relates directly to Ishi or Chris Ishii or indirectly to related geographies or histories. Juxtaposition of media, of sources and of content invite the viewer to explore. A major theme of Ishi Ishii: 31 Years of Freedom is the individual facing the loss of their birthright. Another theme is of living history; or, in the oft quoted words of William Faulkner, "The past isn't dead. It isn't even past." This conceptual landscape does not posit theories but lays down points (across an expanse of passed time and varied circumstance) between which the viewer can travel.