FMA: The_Untitled/Circa_1968_Part 1
Spring Break Art Show 2018
Press Release by Toniann Fernandez:
Curated by Dustin Yellin, Onyedika Chuke’s FMA: The_Untilted/Circa_1968_Part 1 is a continuation of the artist’s Forever Museum Archive: a disquieting collection of objects in which Chuke analyzes protests and globalization. The artist and archivist here presents a visual essay of real, yet often forgotten symbols whose sum presents an unlikely historical collage of collective resistance.
In 1968, the Democratic National Convention took place in Chicago amongst historic riots in the wake of the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert F Kennedy. Chuke’s felt and pebbles exhibition floor mimic the landscape outside of the International Amphitheatre where the convention was held to place the viewer in this space where indiscriminate violence was waged upon 10,000 demonstrators protesting the Vietnam War.
Toward the end of the 1960’s, a time when poor people of all races in Chicago faced police brutality, the draft, and a lack of social services, the Rainbow Coalition was formed. The movement was spearheaded by Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, and joined the Black Panthers with members of the Young Patriots Organization, a group of white nationalist southerners of working-class background, under the umbrella of social and economic justice. Chuke’s 12ft x 6ft watercolor flag is a recreation of an image found on buttons passed out by the organization.
His winged feet of Hermes are made of concrete, a utilitarian material, and weigh a collective 800 pounds.
The feet of the Greek God of transitions lead the viewer to a resin floor maze/fountain that at once mirrors the human circulatory system and the centralized government. The circuit’s amber color suggests a subdermal structure.
The labyrinth is watered from three cast boots of red, blue and yellow that suggest a Judeo-Christian purification emphasized by a crucifix fixed to the outside of the blue boot, also a signifier of class. Beyond this is the artist’s sculpture of a cheetah, both lion and panther.