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Civilian Exclusion v.b.jpg
RCC 1883 v.b.jpg

Locus Communis is an installation that sets down a record of our nation’s historical relationship with people of color. In response to a concerted effort to rewrite our historical narrative, Locus Communis seeks to anchor truths that are too willingly buried. Selected text from 16 laws, executive orders, ordinances, and regulations specific to Native Americans, Mexican Americans, African Americans and Asian Americans reflect the ongoingness of practices that began when Europeans first landed on the shores of the Americas.


The collection is arranged around four themes that have recurred throughout our nation’s history:


  • Cultural Erasure (elimination of language, cultural practices, and history, installation of white Christian values, language, and version of history)

  • Physical Separation from others (incarceration, internment, takeover of land, personal property, and businesses, regulating right to assemble and move freely in public)

  • Separation of families, separation of children from parents

  • Unequal protection under the law – no due process, limited or no access to education and participation in democracy


The installation includes the 16 text selections presented on 2’x3’ dark grey plexiglass panels, juxtaposed against a barely audible, echoing recording of 16 people speaking the first four lines of the Declaration of Independence:


We hold these truths to be self-evident,  


that all men are created equal,  


that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,  


that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,


Locus Communis offers a view of our national identity from the archives, across time, fragments from the past inhabiting the present. Locus Communis is a remembrance of the connecting points between then and now, an inventory of a history that repeats itself. It is our commonplace.

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