Tuesday, October 30th marked the closing event for a collaborative show about locality, “From Here On Out,” featuring work by Toby Millman and “Hamtramck Redact,” a map rendering in charcoal by Andrew Thompson, staged at 2739Edwin in Hamtramck.
Hamtramck is both the location and the subject of both bodies of work. Millman presents a collection of photographs and silkscreened prints featuring specific details of Hamtramck, as they relate to a story that reflects the life experience relayed by Hamtramck residents. Thompson has taken Hamtramck on as a whole, with the creation of a wall-sized map drawn in a time-lapse recreation of Hamtramck’s changing geography since the formalization of its borders. The charcoal medium of the map allowed Thompson to draw and erase and redraw elements of Hamtramck to reflect to the literal development of the township-turned-city over time.
The closing event featured a talk by Greg Kowalski, lifelong Hamtramck resident, accomplished historian, and chairman of the Hamtramck Historical Commission. Aside from having written a number of books about the history of Hamtramck, Kowalski gives free guided walking tours of the city, helping to destigmatize outside perceptions of Hamtramck.
Altogether, the work of these three contributors created a very complete picture of a place incredibly rich in history and ever-changing in nature. Thompson’s work was surrounded by memories contributed by attendees of the show, which he plans to render at street level, as a closing action to this largely temporal work (you can see an awesome time-lapse video of the work-in-progress here). Kudos to the artists, historian Greg Kowalski, and 2739Edwin’s operator, Steve Panton, for a riveting look at Hamtramck, past and present, and a reminder that history lives in our minds, but also takes place in real-time, if we take the time to map it onto the world around us.