Agnes Ma “The Ellfield Addition”


About the work:

The year is 2021. In the summer of 2020, Black Lives Matter riots exploded around the nation during a global pandemic. In 1992, LA rioted over the acquittal of police officers who brutally beat Rodney King. It took until 1954 for the Court to declare that schools could no longer separate blacks and whites in Brown vs. Bd. of Education. In 1942, Japanese Internment Camps were established as a reaction to the bombing of Pearl Harbor in World War II. In 1925, the Ellwood family signed a racial covenant to keep the neighborhood surrounding their property filled with only the “pure white race,” keeping “negro, mulatto, Chinese, Japanese, or person of any race, or mixture of races, other than a person of pure white race” out of the area. The United States is a country made of immigrants, yet as a nation we never seem able to accept this fact.

This piece is an abstraction of the plat of the Ellfield Addition. One portion signifies the purity desired in the Ellfield Addition, contrasting the other portion that represents the surrounding areas where “undesired races” could settle. This racial covenant is not a proud moment for the city, but it is important to remember past transgressions in order to avoid repeating these wrongdoings.


Agnes Ma is an Illinois native who relocated to Colorado in 2016. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor in Fine Arts + Foundations and Fabrications Studio Coordinator at the Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design. She received her M.F.A. in Metalwork, Jewelry Design, and Digital Fabrication as well as a Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies from Northern Illinois University and has a B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her work combines traditional craft and modern methods of fabrication to examine the relationship between humans and their surrounding environment. Visit the artist’s website.

The Ellfield Addition
PLA and paper
72 x 72 x 8 in, 2021

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