Reko Rennie, Remember Me
Curated by Justine Topfer, commissioned by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities' 5 x 5 initiative. Meridian House, 16th Street, NW DC
For this site specific installation Reko Rennie created a text-based neon wall painting. Rennie utilized diamond iconography in a contemporary context, drawing inspiration from his Aboriginal heritage. Through this universal statement – REMEMBER ME, Rennie references the original inhabitants of the land, both here in DC and in his native Australia.
REMEMBER ME is situated directly opposite Meridian Hill Park, which bridges neighborhoods and cultural divides as people from across the city descend on this urban oasis. Alternately named Malcolm X Park, in honor of the civil rights leader, this location is where a number of civil rights marches have originated over the years. This locale provides a poignant place for us to reflect on the rich socio-political history of DC.
Reko Rennie is a Kamilaroi/Gamilaraay/Gummaroi man, born in Melbourne, Australia. Through his art, Rennie explores what it means to be an urban Aboriginal in contemporary Australian society. His art and installations explore issues of identity, race, land rights, stolen generations and other issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in contemporary society. Reko has shown internationally including Paris, Jakarta, Shanghai and USA. Recent 2011 highlights include: a commissioned work by the Art Gallery of New South Wales, and a two-year public artwork, Neon Natives as part of the 2011 Melbourne Laneway Commission.