This exhibition is titled after the famous song by Woody Guthrie that has become an anthem to the beauty of America’s landscape. However, Guthrie always intended it to be critical of the privatization of land and resources that all people should have access to, irrespective of race, nationality, gender, income, or social status. The exhibition title was chosen to highlight the irony that the land we are so proud of is also one we alter, unequally share, and sometimes even destroy. The nine works in this exhibit comment on themes of environmental injustice, such as unequal access to clean water and energy; climate disruption and its impact on human and animal migration; the burden of environmental risk on disadvantaged communities; and the legacy of displacement on indigenous peoples. As you view these artworks, think about the gap between the ideal that ‘this land is our land,’ and the reality that its benefits are unequally distributed. These artists call us to remember that this land is our land and we must work together to preserve it.
This Land is Your Land is part of Wilkinson College’s Engaging the World: Leading the Conversation on Environmental Justice program. It was curated by students Cassandra Chan, Chase Coury, Jonathan Hwang, Ashley Kuckler, Isabella Mahar, Sophie Manis, Kate Meisenbach, Megan Petroni, Yandel Salas, Sarah Sanders, Ella Schattenkerk, Natalie Teeter, Ivanna Tjitra, Jessie Willey, Madeline Wysong and Annie Yu.
Support is generously provided by the Ellingson Family, the Phyllis and Ross Escalette Permanent Collection of Art, Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, Chapman University’s First Year Focus (FFC) program, and Chapman University Campus Planning. Special thanks goes to Henry Littleworth ('23) for designing all the exhibition didactics and Justin and Josh Landis for installing the exhibition.