Ramekon O'Arwisters


Fugitive Memories

In Fugitive Memories, I fuse found objects and everyday items with anonymous nineteenth-century photographs to investigate the subjective nature of memory and the elusive quality of truth. I believe photography is a tool used to document history and memory; however, sometimes it can be difficult to reconcile blurred recollections as time passes. What is more difficult, perhaps, is not only to remember the circumstances of the photograph, but the context and meaning in which it was initially taken. The lens through which one understands and interprets the visual context is often filtered through emotions, misconceptions and false impressions. Found objects, like photographs, also have a past rich with personal affiliations. There seems to be a primal instinct–almost unavoidable–for humans to instill objects with psychological, sentimental, spiritual, or historical connotations.

Ramekon O’Arwisters lives and works in San Francisco, California. He was a recipient of a 2002 Artadia Award and is 2014 Eureka Fellow, administered through the Fleishhacker Foundation, San Francisco. He has exhibited at the Luggage Store Gallery, San Francisco, California and the Kato Gallery, Tokyo, Japan. His numerous group exhibitions include Past Forward: African Spirituality in Contemporary Black Art at the African American Art & Cultural Complex (AAACC), San Francisco, California and Decoding Identity: I Do It For My People, Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD), San Francisco, California. O’Arwisters was honored with his second San Francisco Arts Commission Individual Artist Grant in 2011. He has been actively involved in residences and guest lectures at Djerassi Resident Artists Program, Vermont Studio Center, and Sonoma State University. His works are included in the public collections of the Mary Lou Williams Center for Black Culture at Duke University and the Achenbach Foundation, California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, California. He is currently working on an exhibition about art and spirituality for Communing With The Unseen: African Spirituality in Contemporary Art as an artist-in-residence at the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco, California.