© 2023 Sue Jeong Ka
Evidence: Round Robin for Freedom, 2017
Pencil on paper, printed materials
Presented by The Drawing Center as part of the exhibition, Marginalia
Curated by Lisa Sigal and Nova Benway
Evidence: Round Robin for Freedom (Letter from the House of Representatives, June 18, 2012) is manipulated a letter of the House of Representatives, written by the Chinese-American US representative, Judy May Chu, and made public in 2012, expressing the United States’ regret for the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. The Act, signed by President Chester A. Arthur on May 6, 1882, prohibited immigration of Chinese laborers. It was the only national exclusionary ban in US history until President Trump’s executive orders in January and March 2017. This manipulated letter merges and highlights shared meaning terms: Chinese Exclusion Act and Executive Order; China and 6/7 countries (Muslim-majority countries); Chinese and Foreign Nationals; The years of the 19th/20th centuries and 20XX (indicator of the present and the near future) between these 19th and 21st-century documents, collapsing history to underscore continued oppression.
During the height of the anti-Chinese movement, the Christian Recorder, an African American religious and literary journal, aligned with the oppressed Chinese. "Having felt this fire ourselves,” it admonished, "we would be exceedingly ungrateful were we not to extend the hand of sympathy toward the Chinese.” Evidence: Round Robin for Freedom (New Outrage from Philadelphia Christian Recorder on March 23, 1882) represents the contradictions of Chinese exclusion during Reconstruction, which gave nominal citizenship to black freedmen.