“100 Years; for better or worse”, June 4 — 26, 2009, Reception June 4, 6:00-8:00 PM 101 Prefountain Place South, Seattle WA.
Gallery 4culture: Dawn Cerny and Patrick Holderfield along with Jordan Cayabyab, Doug Keyes, Lisa Liedgren, Carlos Ruiz, Clara Sims, Daniel Smith, and Brent Watanbe.
In recognition the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition (A-Y-P) Centennial, Gallery4Culture is pleased to present, 100 years; for better or worse, a collection of contemporary visual art responses to the legacy of our region’s first world fair. In 100 years; for better or worse, lead artists Dawn Cerny and Patrick Holderfield present a cohesive exhibit examining cultural shifts in attitudes toward indigenous peoples since 1909. Many of the artworks are a reaction to the A-Y-P’s premier attraction, the “Igorrote Village”, where approximately fifty Filipinos (men, women and children) were relocated from a remote village of the Philippine Islands to be on display at the fair from June through mid-October 1909. A sensationalized environment was constructed where they were able to be seen at work and at play, depicting a skewed and stereotyped view of Filipino life and culture. Such exploitive exhibits of indigenous peoples were common at world exhibitions in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In 100 years; for better or worse at Gallery4Culture, Dawn Cerny has responded to this history by creating a series of mixed media A-Y-P souvenir flags that incorporate politically charged text. For his part, Patrick Holderfield conducted research on the A-Y-P and a multitude of similar World’s Fairs around the country at this time. Holderfield launched a website on these accumulated findings and hand-picked six local artists/graphic designers to participate in a collaborative project for the exhibition. He directed them to his website and invited each to design a protest-type poster for the show. The works have been compiled into a limited-edition portfolio that presents a remarkable array of strong visual and political messages. Participating in the poster project are: Doug Keyes, Lisa Liedgren, Carlos Ruiz, Clara Sims, Daniel Smith, and Brent Watanabe.
When asked to create a propaganda poster for this exhibition, Liedgren decided to make use of the creative process itself, employing the myriad of dynamics taking place, as a vehicle when creating her piece. The editorial content in Liedgren’s poster was extracted from the blog that Holderfield had created as a source of information for the invited artists/designers. The text was then edited from past to present tense to create a call to action. Using the process as an act of counter-subversion, Liedgren holds up a mirror to the information received, decodes it in her own subjective way, forcing the viewer to make his/her own connection between historical and current political events, stressing the idea of perception. Liedgren uses the “propaganda poster” as a vehicle to explore the inherent structure of the creative process by viewing it from both an historical and collective/subjective perspective.