Last week, I attended an artist reception in a nearby community…the exhibit was entitled “Latent” and was about an area not very far from where I live. Tulelake, CA. The Modoc Indians once inhabited this land. Here lies a sad and bloody history.
During World War II, this site became one of ten Japanese Internment Camps across the United States.
This same land, degraded and impoverished, has most recently been a shambles for migrant farm workers and/or meth labs.
The curators of this show, two young women photographers, visited the site several times and took present day photos. They were battered by the heavy winds, astonished by the starkness of the land and confronted by local habitators as they took their photos. They got a sense of the deep sorrow in the land itself. Having researched the history of the area, along with the photos they took, they related the stories of this desolate place and the peoples who had lived there.
I’ve returned to see the exhibit a second time. It’s almost too much for the psyche to take in the magnitude of this story. I plan to go again. One comment that I heard more than once as I attended the artist reception was “It’s happening again.”
There is a phrase that has been used to describe the importance of remembering history so that we don’t repeat it. The phrase is “Lest we forget.”
Is there something historical in the place where you live that shouldn’t be forgotten? How would you tell this story, lest we forget?