“See­ing About Race” Reflec­tions on Race
“Ed Drew, Photographer”
This short film offers a series of inter­wo­ven inter­views in which view­ers describe their reac­tions to and answer ques­tions about indi­vid­ual pho­tographs in the Mir­ror of Race project. Inter­vie­wees are encour­aged to inter­pret the images and to con­struct sto­ries about their mean­ing. The sto­ries they tell serve as a mir­ror to reflect back to them­selves their thoughts and feel­ings about the “other,” both his­tor­i­cally and now, as they expe­ri­ence the other today. 

How do we under­stand and change our feel­ings regard­ing the other in our his­tory, in our pri­vate lives, and in our com­mu­nity? Before we can over­come the divi­sions engen­dered by the per­cep­tion of dif­fer­ence, we have to under­stand and accept how we make sense of how we per­ceive oth­ers and, at the same time, ourselves. 

Fur­ther videos will include a num­ber of inter­views, dis­cus­sions, and per­for­mance pieces that begin as med­i­ta­tions on spe­cific images and that evolve to chal­lenge the audi­ence to reflect upon its own ways of see­ing and inter­pret­ing the other.

Even­tu­ally, we plan to have video com­men­tary on each of the images in the online exhi­bi­tion, as well as a com­pi­la­tion of inter­views in “See­ing about Race” as a uni­tary film.
Derek Bur­rows, August 2009

In 1974 Derek arrived into Boston to find a racially charged cli­mate, bus­ing was at its height, racial ten­sions high. Com­ing from The Bahamas where the social con­struct of race called him white, Derek was able to nav­i­gate though a myr­iad of cul­tural and racial groups while explor­ing what white­ness meant to him.

Grow­ing up in The Bahamas, he was white but never felt that term a part of who he was. On arriv­ing into Boston to go to Berklee Col­lege of Music, he dis­cov­ered that there race didn’t matter.

The film “Reflec­tions on Race” uses inter­views with fam­ily mem­bers, experts from the Bahamas as well as inter­views of experts on race and genet­ics from Amer­ica to tell the story of Derek’s immi­grant expe­ri­ence to Amer­ica, his explo­ration of his own racial iden­tity and his dis­cov­ery though genetic test­ing that changed com­pletely the way the fam­ily thinks about themselves.

Using archival footage, old fam­ily footage and cur­rent day images, Derek, a mas­ter sto­ry­teller, weaves together a tale of intrigue as he takes us on a jour­ney allow­ing us to ask, “What is race and does it exist and why does it matter?”

Ed Drew grew up in Brook­lyn, New York City and joined the mil­i­tary a month after his com­ple­tion of high school. He spent the next 6 years in the active duty Air Force, from 1999 to 2005, as a jet engine mechanic.

His tour of duty began in Lit­tle Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, and in 2001 he was reas­signed to Yokota Air Base near Tokyo, Japan until the end of his enlist­ment. It was while in Japan he dis­cov­ered his pas­sion for art and an artis­tic aes­thetic derived from the Japan­ese culture.After leav­ing Japan and active duty, he relo­cated to Ger­many where he lived for 3 years.

He trav­elled across much of West­ern Europe and parts of East­ern Europe, fur­ther devel­op­ing his artis­tic style. In the sum­mer of 2008 Ed finally returned to Amer­ica, after a 7 year absence, and, shortly there­after, enlisted in the Air National Guard.Ed Drew cur­rently lives in the San Fran­cisco Bay Area, where he attends San Fran­cisco Art Insti­tute full time, pur­su­ing a BFA in Sculp­ture with a minor in Pho­tog­ra­phy, study­ing under pho­tog­ra­pher Linda Con­nor and sculp­tor John Roloff.

More about Ed Drew


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