Greg Ito: All You Can Carry

Greg Ito: All You Can Carry ICA San Diego Museum

ICA North

Saturday, March 12, 2022 -
Sunday, May 15, 2022

Opening Reception and Artist Talk: March 12th, 2022.


The Institute of Contemporary Art, San Diego is pleased to present All You Can Carry, a solo exhibition and experience by Los Angeles-based Greg Ito at ICA San Diego North. In All You Can Carry, Ito delves into his family’s history in the Japanese American Internment Camps during WWII as a way to address our connection with ancestry, American identity, and the objects and memories that fill our homes.

Visitors to All You Can Carry are invited to enter Ito’s history highlighting his grandparents’ relationship and their experience in camp. The exhibition navigates conversations of trauma, memory, tradition, and as Ito describes, “the power of family, love, and perseverance.” On February 19th, 1942, Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 that incarcerated Japanese Americans on the West Coast in internment camps in California, Arizona, and later, to other states. Only allowed the belongings they could carry, Ito’s family members were forced to think about what was most important to them. Along with their homes and businesses, an entire Japanese American community of about 120,000 people were uprooted by the swift signature by FDR.

In the first gallery, Ito reflects on his family’s experience through coded symbols found in his paintings, including keyholes as points of access, the home as shelter, flowers as renewal, the red sun as heritage, ginkgo leaves as memory, butterflies as transformation, and fire as loss and tragedy. Continuing to the second gallery, Ito creates an installation representing a burnt home containing new sculptures and family ephemera from the camp.

“How do we overcome tragedy, fear, and hatred? How do we hold onto the faint glimmer of light that will shine through the rest of our lives and future generations?” asks Ito.

Ito’s grandfather’s job at camp was a watchman of the water tower that stood high on a hill above Gila River Internment Camp, Arizona. Ito invites visitors to climb the hill of ICA North as a performative pilgrimage, a pathway for visitors to transform their traumas and personal baggage into new forms of hope for a better future. California native wildflower seeds, handed to visitors upon their arrival, may be planted in the hilltop installation of charcoal and soil for self-renewal. To complete the performance Ito will water the seeds planted by visitors only using the water he can carry with his two hands.

Related Events
Opening Reception and Artist Talk in collaboration with Art Night Encinitas: March 12, 2022, 5:30-8:30 pm.

About the Artist
Greg Ito (b. 1987, Los Angeles, CA) earned his BFA from San Francisco Art Institute in 2008. His work has been exhibited widely in group and solo exhibitions at galleries including Maki Gallery, Tokyo, Japan; Anat Ebgi, Los Angeles, CA; Division Gallery, Montreal, QC; Arsenal Contemporary, Toronto, ON; Jeffrey Deitch New York, NY; Andrew Rafacz Gallery, Chicago, IL; Shulamit Nazarian, Los Angeles, CA; Et al, San Francisco, CA; and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts – YBCA, San Francisco, CA. A forthcoming solo exhibition at the new Institute of Contemporary Art San Diego will open in 2022. Ito lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.

This event is part of Art Night Encinitas. Prepare yourself for an evening of art!

Museums in San Diego


Image Credits
Greg Ito, All You Can Carry, 2022, acrylic on canvas over panel, 48 x 36 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Anat Ebgi, Los Angeles.