Donald Rodney, In the House of my Father, 1997, by Chloe

Donald Rodney, In the House of my Father, 1997
Donald Rodney, In the House of my Father, 1997

For Week 2, Chloe writes:

I chose to write this week about Donald Rodney, In the House of my Father, 1997. In the House of my Father is an image displaying a miniature sculpture of a house which rests in the artist’s open hand. The house was constructed out of Rodney’s own skin which was removed during one of many operations carried out to combat his sickle cell anemia, an inherited disease that affects people of African, Caribbean, Eastern Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Asian ancestry. Rodney’s work refers to medicine and the body in relation to his own illness, but is also a metaphorical reference to social sicknesses such as racism, police brutality or apartheid. In the House of my Father was made for the exhibition “9 Nights in Eldorado,” 1997, which Rodney dedicated to his father who had passed away two years prior. At the time of his father’s death, Rodney was also in hospital and expressed personal anguish as this prevented him from being at his father's bedside.

Rodney prepared and created most of the exhibition's content from his hospital bed and transformed his shared room into an impromptu studio. The current global pandemic provides a new context through which to view In the house of my Father, as we all become more reliant on our health care systems and many are also separated from loved ones during our experiences of isolation. Our situation highlights the disparities of social protection people are afforded through productions of race and class. And, it calls into question the sustainability of the structures that support us. As many of us shelter in our homes, Rodney’s delicate house seems to represent a fragility we are all feeling and a desire for comfort and protection in a time of crisis.

#artwithoutdistance #goingbacktomoveforward #art #socialjusticeart #ucscias