Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

Based in San Francisco, Ewing focuses on the intersections of body, memory, and place. The quotation in this print—“My country needs me, and if I were not here I would have to be invented”—comes from a ground-shaking essay by Black feminist literary critic Hortense Spillers. Ewing splices Spillers’s words literally and visually, performing the very action of the original declaration. Further, the inter-connected images between the clauses rely on each other in order to exist: the horizontal gray and blue lines intersect with and fill in the gaps in the Black face at center, and the splintered face completes the horizontal lines. The shared color of the letters (text) and face (image) suggests a relationship between self and utterance. The face itself is fractured, evoking the fragmented nature of imagination and dreamwork. What’s more, the lines allude to but do not reflect outright the American flag. Together, the interlocking images make a larger statement on identity and disruption in the country’s racial landscape.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
2018.33.8
People
Rodney Ewing
Title
My Country Needs Me
Classification
Prints
Work Type
print
Date
1996
Culture
American
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/361187
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Offset lithograph on white wove paper
Technique
Offset print
Dimensions
54.6 × 76.2 cm (21 1/2 × 30 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: l.r. in graphite: Rodney Ewing 96
Provenance
Rodney Ewing, created 1996; [Brandywine Workshop, Philadelphia, PA], sold; to the Harvard Art Museums, 2018.
State, Edition, Standard Reference Number
Edition
24/80
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Margaret Fisher Fund
Copyright
© Rodney Ewing
Accession Year
2018
Object Number
2018.33.8
Division
Modern and Contemporary Art
Contact
am_moderncontemporary@harvard.edu
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Exhibition History

Prints from the Brandywine Workshop and Archives: Creative Communities, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 03/04/2022 - 07/31/2022

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Modern and Contemporary Art at am_moderncontemporary@harvard.edu