303 Naturalization Drawing Table
Naturalization Drawing Table is a work Nari Ward produced to address the complex process of becoming an American citizen. Ward was born in Jamaica and although he moved to the United States at the age of 12, he did not end up getting full American citizenship until 2012. Like many individuals who have immigrated to the United States as children and adolescents, Ward experienced a kind of split identity between feeling both Jamaican and American and an ambivalence about seeking citizenship especially during the early 2000s as American entered into wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Once he did begin to explore the process of naturalization, he was confronted with the complicated, expensive, and often intimidating layers of bureaucracy and paper work that potential citizens are required to face.
On select dates throughout the course of the exhibition, Ward invites viewers to line up at the desk and fill out his own customized version of a naturalization form. After providing their personal information and having their picture taken, each visitors form is notarized by an actual notary and eventually displayed on the wall. In return, they are given a packet containing prints of a series of drawings Ward produced on top of a related set of forms. Although not equivalent to the often grueling process of achieving citizenship, Naturalization Table provides a microcosm of the uncomfortable nature of the exchanges that are part of that process, while offering a reward in exchange for surrendering a small amount of privacy.