If You Remember, I’ll Remember

02/04/2017 - 06/18/2017
Main Gallery


If You Remember, I’ll Remember is an invitation to reflect on the past while contemplating the present through works of art exploring themes of love, mourning, war, relocation, internment, resistance, and civil rights in 19th and 20th century North America. This exhibition includes works by artists Kristine Aono (b. 1960), Shan Goshorn (b. 1957), Samantha Hill (b. 1974), McCallum & Tarry (active 1998-2013), Dario Robleto (b. 1972), and Marie Watt (b. 1967). By engaging with historic documents, photographs, sound recordings, oral histories and objects of material culture drawn from institutional and informal archives, these artists highlight individuals’ stories or make connections to the their own histories. Some make explicit links to events across time periods, while in others these associations are implicit.

2017 marks two milestones that connect to works in this exhibition. February 19th is the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066 which ordered the war-time internment of over 120,000 Japanese-American citizens and residents living on the west coast of the United States. June 12th is the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision of the case Loving v. Virginia, which found laws prohibiting interracial marriage— then in effect in sixteen states—unconstitutional. Touchstones for other works include a class photograph of students at Pennsylvania’s Carlisle Indian Industrial School (operational 1879-1918), documents from a Chicago family archive relating to the early history of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, a photograph of an early 20th century Potlatch off Vancouver Island, and the love letters of soldiers who served in various wars in which the United States was involved. If You Remember, I’ll Remember juxtaposes themes and histories that are rarely considered in relationship to each other. Together these works pose questions about the purposes and processes of remembering and the responsibilities of those who remember. 

Related Events for If You Remember

Opening Day: If You Remember, I’ll Remember

Saturday, February 4

Sewing Kick-Off, 10:00am–12:00pm
The exhibition If You Remember, I’ll Remember is an invitation to think about the present while reflecting on the past. Drop in for a first look at the exhibition and to join artist Marie Watt in a sewing circle.


Artist Conversation 2:00pm
The contemporary artists in the exhibition use poetic strategies to address issues of war, racism, and xenophobia in American history. Exhibition curator Janet Dees and participating artists Kristine Aono, Samantha Hill, Dario Robleto, and Marie Watt will take part in a presentation and panel discussion on the show’s crucial themes.


Equity Sewing Circle with Artist Marie Watt

Wednesday, February 8, 6:00pm

The GYM at 640 Lincoln Street [Art Theory and Practice Building]

Blankets, one of the primary materials used by Seneca artist Marie Watt, are everyday objects that can carry extraordinary histories. Many of Watt’s larger blanket wor ks are made in community, notably in “sewing circles,” to bring people together in conversation and making. Join us for hands-on participaton in one of Watt’s projects while also taking part in conversation on the theme of equity.

Partners include Northwestern’s Native American and Indigenous Peoples Steering Group, NAISA, CINAS, Multicultural Student Affairs, and the office of Neighborhood and Community Relations.


History and Memory [Film]

Thursday, February 9, 7:00pm, FREE

In conjunction with the exhibition If You Remember, I’ll Remember, curator Janet Dees will introduce two videos by artist Rea Tajiri that highlight very personal experiences of the internment of Japanese Americans during Word War II—History and Memory (1991) and Yuri Kochiyama: Passion for Justice (1994)

Day of Remembrance 75th Anniversary

Saturday, February 18, 2:00pm

February 19, 2017, marks the 75th anniversary of the signing of the executive order which called for the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. Join us to commemorate this historic occasion through an interactive, intergenerational program held around the work of Sansei artist Kristine Aono. The afternoon will be spent sharing stories of internment, and commemorating this historically relevant anniversary.

Hosting partners include Multicultural Student Affairs and the Japanese American Service Committee, Chicago Japanese American Historical Society, Japanese American Citizens League, Japanese Mutual Aid Society, and the Chicago Japanese American Council.


If You Remember, I’ll Remember is organized by Janet Dees, Curator, Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, and its title is taken from a 2013 essay by the artist Dario Robleto.

This exhibition is funded through support from the Bernstein Family Contemporary Art Fund, Stephen, Dianne, Katy and Becky Loeb, the Diane and Craig Solomon Contemporary Art Fund, the Illinois Arts Council Agency and the Mary and Leigh Block Endowment.

[Download Images for Press]

Image (top): Marie Watt, Witness, 2015, 71 × 180.5 in. Reclaimed wool blanket, embroidery floss, thread.  Image courtesy of the artist, Photograph by Aaron Johanson

Image (bottom): Kristine Aono, Deru Kugi Wa Utareru: The Nail That Sticks Up the Farthest Takes the Most Pounding, 21 x 18 x 9 ftNails, documents, wood, styrofoam, burlap sacks. Image courtesy of the artist.