Hyde Park Art Center: CP 10
Beneath The Visible
Beneath the Visible features the work of Center Program Artists translating impermanence, cyclical events, and transformation. By reflecting on the cultural, environmental, and social layers of their work, artists enact poetic research processing beyond immediately apparent material. Fragments are re-constructed into blueprints. What was once an idea becomes a detectable dimension.
In exploring the topographies of artistic practice, artists are considering what it means to exist today, preserve the past, and envision multiple possible futures. Ephemeral materials are transformed into a type of documentation of the processes of change. Through repetitive actions, artists are uncovering methodologies that shape the meaning of their work. The exhibition challenges baseline views by solidifying the relationships between memory, material, and process.
Beneath the Visible is therefore a space of experimentation, engaging curiosity for expansion and clarity. It encourages us to slow down and ask--How do we know what we know and how do we get to know more deeply? Where can our intentional investigations lead us and what spaces are unearthed as a result? Beneath the Visible does not shy away from the impermanence of things but rather affirms that though change is inevitable, the impressions and marks we leave behind can be meaningful.
List of participating artists: Alexandra Antoine, Amanda Mulcahy, Ameera Pernebsati, Carisa Mitchell, David Vosburg, Dennissa Young, Holly Cahill, Jane Georges, Joseph Josue Mora, Karen Dana Cohen, Kittisak (Wa) Chontong, Kushala Vora, Lauren Grudzien, Laurie LeBreton, Lucia Calderon Arrieta, Marylu E. Herrera, Rhonda Gray, and Nayeon Yang.
Lead: Silvia Inés Gonzalez | Program Coordinator: Aidan Anne Frierson
Collaborators/Visiting Artists: Hilesh Patel, Megha Ralapati, Damon Locks, Patricia Nguyen, Rhonda Wheatley, Cesáreo Moreno, Ionit Behar, William Estrada, Lynn Basa, Dorothy Burge, Assaf Evron, Maria Gaspar, Asha Iman Veal, Chicago Art Department: Carlos Flores, The Honeycomb Network: Denise S. Ruiz
Images of the opening exhibition: Beto de Freitas
Contra Corriente: Seeding Ceremony
SEEDING CEREMONY BRINGS ARTISTS TOGETHER AROUND IDEAS OF GRIEVING AND HEALING—PARTICULARLY IN THE CONTEXT OF ENVIRONMENTAL INJUSTICE.
What would it mean to call back our connection to our environment and our sacred responsibility for all living things? What happens when rage is given space to be understood? When does grief become an access point to our spirited humanity?
SEEDING CEREMONY is a call to question, feel, and transform socio-environmental harm. The seven artists in this exhibition amplify the connectedness of the current climate crisis in concurrence with a global pandemic through their artistic practices, radical learning approaches, and care. Within video performance, data muralism, sculpture, and installation depicting various processes, artists address their environmental grief by responding to the realities of living with a consciousness toward the environment. While some artists like Abena Motaboli directly source from pigments of the earth, others like Jassiel Serna use sculpture to embody rage, grief, and faith. Similarly, other artists in the show have a nuanced relationship between the narrative of their work and the material of their choice. Each artist's response becomes a seed-like contribution offering light, a release of stagnant energy, poems of gratitude, and pathways for intimate reflection.
Seeding Ceremony is part of the yearly Contra-Corriente Festival that bridges solidarity work between artists, activists, and organizations for environmental justice in Chicago. Historically, Chicago’s Southwest and Southeast sides have experienced a concentrated and disparate consequence of environmental degradation. Redlining, segregation, polluted air in heavily industrialized corridors, and toxic levels of lead found in many public parks, schools, and houses manufacture enduring harm. These environmental conditions have a cumulative impact on working-class people–predominantly people of color, a group that contributes least to the source of harm on an individual scale.
The damage is structural by design. Its consequences are manifested in the development of respiratory and heart conditions, damage to the nervous system, learning disabilities, and other health issues at a higher rate than in communities with fewer of these environmental stressors. Impacts not as widely discussed include the psychosocial and deeply embodied grief felt watching clouds of dust from the planned explosion of the Crawford Coal Plant smokestack demolition covering La Villita (Little Village) amid the Covid-19 global pandemic. How do we begin to uproot these harms to make time for grieving and space for our well-being? The interconnectedness of spirit, environment, and all living things asks us to reconsider our relationship, response, and responsibility on a structural level as much as in our interpersonal connections.
Seeding Ceremony therefore gives us the space to be in ceremony and acceptance of our mourning, and remembrance, as much as our hope-filled vision for the future. What healing do we wish to mirror between our bodies, neighbors, neighborhoods, and larger collective? What seeds can we offer back as a commitment to healing our tender terrains?
Seeding Ceremony includes the work of seven artists: Kushala Vora, Jassiel Serna, Fabrizzio Subia, Abena Motaboli, ebere agwuncha, Carlos Flores, and Vanessa A. Sanchez of The Chicago ACT Collective
Co-Curators: Silvia Inés Gonzalez + Carlos Flores
What can make love possible in our coalition-building and movement work? How do we practice ways of living in rooted possibility for an abundant life?What approaches allow for our fullest selves to participate in communal joy, grief, and radical care?
On Mending brought together local creative practitioners led by Chicago Art Department Resident Artist Silvia Inés Gonzalez to discuss topics of repair as an art form for liberation.
Through critical discussion and skill-share opportunities, participants examined generational, societal, environmental, and familial bonds ruptured by colonialism, extractive capitalist complexes, migration, and politically incited trauma. In centering well-being, grief work, and exploring what moving at the speed of deliberate trust looked like, participants explored the layered conceptualization of mending.
By sharing mutual responsibility in the learning process, the group formed relational connections needed for a community praxis rooted in activism, abolition, organizing, healing, and collective care. On Mending has become a portal to the possibilities of coming together with the myriad languages of love at the center.
Artists include: Destiny Brady, Lydia Saravia, Salty Brown Femme, Chiara Francesca, Sarah Whyte, Bettina Johnson, Katie Vota, Thandi, and Lydia Cheshewalla
Our coalition building included Chicago Park District youth from Small is All
Much appreciation goes to the funding provided by DCASE and the Illinois Humanities Envisioning Justice Grant
Love In The Time Of...
The Chicago ACT (Artists Creating Transformation) Collective builds political artistic collaboration and dialogue across multiple communities. We aim to generate work that both reflects and responds to current local needs identified by those most directly impacted. The Collective enacts self and community care through art-making.
Chicago has a long standing history of justice organizing efforts from settlement housing to labor movements to environmental justice, immigrant and refugee rights and racial solidarity to name a few. Through this work, there have been ongoing learning opportunities for holding space for multiple truths while threading together community efforts. In honoring the fierce work of activism past and present, the Chicago ACT Collective forms bridges between social movements as well as what it means to be in relationship to ourselves, each other, and the communities we are part of.
Formed in 2016 by William Estrada and Sarah Atlas, a group of artists, activists, educators, arts administrators, and thinkers came together to create work responding to justice and local grassroots efforts which quickly grew into a collective of chosen family. Love in the Time Of...is an opportunity to reflect on the ways in which art has been used to amplify critical conversations across our city’s social justice efforts while simultaneously cultivating a collective culture of love and care. Writer bell hooks states, ““Embracing a love ethic means that we utilize all dimensions of love-- "care, commitment, trust, responsibility, respect and knowledge"-- in our everyday lives'” (All About Love).
Through camping, solidarity campaigning through art-making, zoom check-ins during a global pandemic, radical care as a strategy, and cross collaborations, we have developed an interpersonal love ethic that carries--if not centers--continual conversations on social justice based artwork we are committed to developing in Chicago.
It is from this lens, Act Collective presents, “Love in the Time of…” as an ongoing ellipse of our commitment to create from the various dimensions of love as we envision and move toward liberation.
When We Fight We Win
In the fall of 2019, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and Local 73 (SEIU) banded together and marched in solidarity to demand justice for the students of Chicago Public Schools. Over 30,000 bodies flooded downtown, demanding restorative justice programs, nurses and librarians in every school, shared planning time, and equitable resources to be allocated across our city’s schools. This moment shed light on the depths of divestment from our students and working class families, delivering a historical win.
When We Fight We Win, is a sliver of collective movement building engaging art as an opportunity to educate, inspire, and heal. The show, therefore, serves as a site of reflection, recuperation, and strategizing in the midst of a global pandemic and national civil unrest.
In reflection, how do we pivot to center the voices of students and families most directly impacted by criminalization, police brutality, immigration policies, inequity in housing, healthcare, lack of access to food and other basic necessities? How can we use this living and breathing show as an opportunity to learn and imagine what’s next? Schools continuously find themselves as the centerpiece and heart of our communities. As such, it is our duty to continue to fight, and continue to win.
Curated by: Silvia Inés Gonzalez | Text edited by Niamh Burke | Wall Text Illustrated by: Shelby Rodeffer
Special thanks to the Chicago Teachers Union, teachers, families, students and Art Build supporters.