Yesterday as I was walking in my north side Chicago neighborhood, where families were getting together for Easter celebrations. The Mexican girls across the street, dressed in pastel gowns, were out in the front yard searching for hidden eggs while the boys of the Nigerian Minister next door were well groomed in suit and tie headed off to a day of church, all were in their Sunday Best to celebrate this important day in the Christian religion.
This glimpse into their lives reminds me of an exhibition currently at the Hyde Park Art Center. Artist Andreas Fischer, inspired by a collection of photographs from the Montana Historical Society of men and women from generations past, dressed up in their best for these portraits, tries to create context. Not knowing anything other than what is captured in the image gave Fischer the license to come up with modern interpretations of the traditional portrait. You know instantly upon viewing that these are from a photograph. You also know from the color used and the image created that he made his own story.
The faces are warped, some say Zombie-like. Fischer says this is intentional, wanting to exaggerate for the contemporary viewer that history and artifacts are left up to the interpretation of the viewer. That most of the images captured now, seen through the eyes of a future observer will have their context. Dear future viewer, treat us kindly.