Artist Tonika Lewis Johnson: A large yellow circular sign is intended to attract your attention when you take a walk in the 2022 edition of the Expo Chicago edition. What the sign says will stop you on your track: “This house in 7250 S. Slot Gacor Hari Ini Green was stolen legally from Black Resident John Garner on December 28, 1962, in fraud of land sales contracts that were widespread. These crimes have never been taken to court. Repair due. “(This marker also stands in front of the real house on the south side of Chicago.)
Above these words is clip art rendering someone who escaped, a sack with a dollar sign draped to the shoulder. Behind the sign is a photo-exploding for more than 10 feet of the house in question. Weeds grow tall in front of a white vinyl house; The first window and floor door went up. This intervention, part of a larger series, titled “injustice for sale,” at Fair came belonging to Chicago-based Artist Tonika Lewis Johnson and Windy City Gallery Weinberg / Newton.
Artist Tonika Lewis Johnson
During the 50s and ’60, the fraud of public land sales contracts is a form of rental-to-own practice “where home buyers, locked from traditional mortgages by racist policies, offered contracts that enforce excessive monthly payments without ever happening. Transferring ownership, “According to the project website.
As a sign note, the Garner situation is not one time; It affects more than 3,300 homeowners in Chicago – and counts because the full amount is still tabulated. Like racially discriminatory housing practices throughout the United States, the effect is still felt today, the scam has mostly impacted black owners, in particular, in the four Historical Black Environments: East Garfield Park, North Lawndale, West Side, and More Englewood big on the south side.
“It is the same environment today who struggle with low homeownership, school closure, weapons violence, crime,” said Lewis Johnson, who was born, raised, and continued to live in Englewood. “It only spends the family of wealth they think they will be able to accumulate from American dreams buying houses. This installation is to help people understand how the environment starts to struggle with the problem.”
Before starting “injustice for sale,” Artist Tonika Lewis Johnson has produced another project, “Map folded,” which looks at the historic segregation of Chicago “and presents a possible way for us to disturb,” he said.
Close to one year after the project was exhibited at the Loyola University Art Museum in 2018, Duke University released a report entitled The Black Wealth in Chicago (2019) “to measure the amount of money stolen from a black family in Chicago during the ’50-and. It’s almost $ 4 billion in money today. “
People started sending him reports and he immediately reached out to researchers to learn more, which helped to mumble each of the homes and people who were affected by this land sales contract.
“Many houses today look like this: abandoned or they have been destroyed and now a lot of empty,” he said. “I always want to know why there are so many houses left behind and lots empty in my neighborhood.”
For Artist Tonika Lewis Johnson, this project is only the beginning of a conversation.
“Many times with big and systemic problems, people have difficulty understanding how they are still with us today,” he said. “I want to help expand the understanding of people with this context. If you know, the historical reason for it then it will help you know realistic solutions. You can’t just overcome the consequences without handling the root cause of the problem.”
He continued, “Chicago is very critical in teaching all countries how to make racism and separation into real estate and become Chicago must also be a city that shows all the countries how to take into account it.”