Javier Barrera, “Mamie/Chicago”

Javier Barrera
Miami Beach, Florida

artist book with intaglio on Yatsuo Japanese paper, letterpress and USB drive on BFK Rives paper
11.625″ x 9.625″ x 1.75″

Artist Statement

“Who would want to save these raggedy old buildings?” was a question often posed by Wardell Yotaghan, leader of the Coalition to Protect Public Housing in Chicago. He would quickly answer his own question by saying, “We don’t want to save these buildings in their present condition. We want these buildings rehabbed or new units built to meet the needs of all the people.”

Mamie Rogers grew up in public housing at the Jane Addams Homes on the south side of Chicago. Although she no longer lives there, she still calls this place home. Most of these buildings were demolished for new developments that displaced the people in those neighborhoods. Video stills and photographs from this project were made into etchings that tell her story and underscore the alienated setting and vanishing buildings.

Five editions of this artist book include 10 aquatint etchings on Yatsuo Japanese paper mounted on BFK Rives paper measuring 10.5” x 8”. The title page includes a USB drive with a 3:13 minute video of an interview conducted with Mamie Rogers while she tours her former home.

The video can be screened alongside the book on a loop as a supplement to the project. To watch the video, please visit: https://www.javierbarrera.net/mamie-chicago


About Javier Barrera

My artwork is an interdisciplinary form of documentary and personal reportage in which narratives are revisited through a visual language. My ideas lean toward socially-inspired content and present-day issues. In projects created through extensive research and experimentation, I try to uncover layers of meaning—turning to image-making as a means of conveying shared stories.