ANN ARBOR, Mich. — With her mixed-media installation, Of 72, artist Ebony G. Patterson asks a very straightforward question: “What happens when seventy-two men and one woman dies and no one knows who they are?”
Patterson, a native Jamaican, is raising this question in connection to the 2010 “Tivoli Incursion” in Kingston, Jamaica — an armed conflict between the Shower Posse drug cartel and Jamaica’s military and police that resulted in the killing of at least 73 civilians. In the wall text and video outside the installation at University of Michigan’s Institute for the Humanities Gallery, Patterson adds a litany of other questions that she’s been left with about the victims. They range from the generic type of getting-to-know-you questions that are small-talk fare, to more specific questions of personal preference, lifestyle, and emotions. Most specifically, she wonders about the victims’ potential connection (or lack thereof) to major drug lord Christopher “Dudus” Coke — the search for whom incited the death of these citizens after the United States requested his extradition from Jamaica.