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SPARK Grant

Recipients

Meet Grant Recipients
2021 - 2022

Alma Dominguez was born in México (Chihuahua) but she has lived in the Chicago area for over 15 years. She has been a visual artist for more than two decades, working with different techniques and materials, on metal, paper or canvas, predominantly mixed media. Domínguez is a psychologist with a Master's degree in Social Sciences. Her journey through the aforementioned areas has had a great influence on her artwork. 

“My work is the result of my questions and internal dialogues on political, social and environmental issues; the female figure is very present, I am interested in highlighting the importance of women in all areas of our society, especially those that have historically broken stereotypes and the status quo. As an undocumented migrant woman, I also consider that our community stories are very important and should be told by us to leave a record of how much we contribute to this society.”

Her work has been exhibited in México, USA, Spain, Italy, Nicaragua, Argentina, Chile, France and Russia. Has the honor of being the only Latina woman in The Chicago Society of Artists, The "CSA” is the oldest continuing association of artists (since 1887) in the United States. Dominguez is the Founder of Pintoras Mexicanas, approximately 350, painters of Mexican origin around the world who organize exhibitions to promote their work and to support different organizations.  As well as co-founder of OPEN Center for the Arts where they work to share, inspire, and promote different artistic expressions through workshops, exhibitions, and public art in Chicago.

Image: Alma Dominguez, WE ARE HERE TO STAY (2019). Dimensions 24 x 36 inches. Mixed media/Canvas

2021 - 2022

Connecting with people over the language of style and how others connect through garments has been a driving force behind my practice. My work is a constant study on the history of textiles and garments in underserved communities impacting change on a global economy. I explore the origin stories of fashion’s subcultures and my findings are presented through exhibitions, discussions, and interactive workshops. I was born and raised on the Southside of Chicago in the West Pullman neighborhood. I studied fashion at the Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago and owned a clothing company that evolved into a resource for independent designers.

Image: Amanda Christine Harth, a quilt made of Denim, and indigo and madder root dyed fabrics. The quilt is a visual culmination of research conducted by Amanda Christine Harth on the intersectionality of Black Culture and Denim Culture in America.

Anders Zanichkowsky is a transgender artist, writer, curator, and activist. They make art about grief, desire, and our longing for another world, creating beautiful places for people to rest, lust, and feel heartbroken together. Equally at home in traditional craft and new media, their studio practice includes neon, weaving, printmaking, papermaking, video, performance, and poetry. They have been an artist with The Arctic Circle sailing expedition in Svalbard, Røst AiR in Sápmi/Norway, and the Chicago Park District's Cultural Asset Mapping Project. Their work has been exhibited across the United States, Europe, and Australia including the Wisconsin Film Festival, and they've received awards for printmaking, public art, and international research. Anders has an MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2019) and a BA from Hampshire College (2008). They currently work for artists Mel Chin and Latham Zearfoss and are the owner and weaver of Burial Blankets, handwoven shrouds for green burial meant for reflection and enjoyment during life.

Image: Anders Zanichkowsky, Burial Blanket (on a living model), (2021). Handwoven shroud for green burial. Dimensions 40 x 110 inches.

ASSIA BOUNDAOUI is an Algerian-American filmmaker, investigative journalist, and artist who has reported internationally for PRI, BBC, AlJazeera, VICE and CNN among others. Her debut short film about hijabi hair salons for HBO Documentary Films premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Her award-winning feature-length directorial debut, THE FEELING OF BEING WATCHED a documentary investigating a decade of FBI surveillance in Assia's Muslim-American community, had its world premiere at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival and was nationally broadcast on PBS “POV.” Assia was named one of Filmmaker Magazine's 2018 "25 New Faces of Independent Film,” was a 2019 New America National Fellow and in 2020 was honored to win the Livingston Award for national reporting.  She is currently a Ford Foundation JustFilms fellow hosted at the Co-Creation Studio at the MIT Open Documentary Lab, where she is iterating a co-created AI fueled sequel to her film: the Inverse Surveillance Project. She has an M.A. in journalism from New York University and is an Algers born, Arabic speaking, artist, currently based in Chicago.

Image: Still of director Assia Boundaoui reads the FBI documents (that she FOIA-ed and won) about surveillance of her community. These documents are now a central piece of the Inverse Surveillance Project, an immersive co-created new media art installation that takes the form of a life-sized labyrinth that will be the canvas for an immersive community archive that repurposes thousands of records collected during a decade of FBI surveillance as a site of collective healing and a reclaiming of narrative.

2021 - 2022

Deborah Cole embraces the marriage between technology and hand craftsmanship. Not unlike the artist James Faure Walker, she enjoys exploring various artist techniques and combining them with technology to create new artwork. She describes her art as an “am/pm existence.” In the a.m., she creates works by hand--anything from drawing and painting to use of fibers. In the p.m., she takes photos of that work and edits her images to make the artwork more "mysterious and ethereal." The objective of this study is not for perfection, but for distinction, for contrast. Sometimes the "technical" images are recycled back into the real world and reworked for further exploration. The end goals are to develop never-ending processes and create striking abstractions that look out of this world.

Image: Deborah Cole, The Grater, (2021-2022). Colored pencils, pen, and ink on vellum. 1.41 MB

2021 - 2022
Dena Springer

Dena Springer is a bi-racial Asian-American animator & illustrator living in Chicago. Her work at once magnifies and reduces behaviors within groups, examining movements (both literal and figurative), and the divergent response to collective ideological structures between Eastern and Western perspectives. She uses vintage educational videos, antiquated instruction manuals, and old illustrations from children’s books to respond and challenge cultural definitions of role, gender, and identity. By borrowing from the rich animation tradition of the early 20th Century, she invites the viewer onto the drawing board with her in an effort to scramble the distance between who we are collectively, individually, and what culture dictates to us about both.  Her 2021 animated film, You Are Here, was screened at festivals such as GLAS Animation Festival, Ottawa International Animation Festival, & San Diego Underground Film Festival.

Image still: Scene from Boys Clap, Girls Dance. Digital Animation, 10 minutes. 2022.

2021 - 2022

ebere agwuncha is a designer, maker, and artist based in Chicago via Anambra State, Nigeria. Her dexterous practice aims to hybridize various craft and materials including wood, ceramic, and natural fiber. Through creating ‘care-filled architecture(s)’ and speculative installations, they aim to preserve Igbo stories through more expansive iterations using a diverse set of techniques. She pushes the cusp of perfection - or imperfection - while intimately using her hands to physicalize ideas. ebere is currently developing a series Creating Care-filled Igbo Architecture(s) which celebrates the intersections of architecture, design, craft, and art in the Igbo sphere and beyond through exploring various inquiries. The word architecture(s) has been adapted to also include object design, functional structures, and visual literature. ebere’s work aims to push an approach of “hybridity” as a method to acknowledge varying cultures, narratives and practices for building our present-futures.

ebere holds a degree in Industrial Design degree from Iowa State University and was recently the inaugural artist-in-exchange with the Sculpture Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago for the spring of 2022. owoko, their first solo exhibition was shown at the Comfort Station (Chicago, IL) this May of 2022.

Image: installation view during the exhibition opening, nsude 1-5 vessels sitting on an extruded surface and surrounded by soil, “owoko” - ebere agwuncha, Comfort Station, 2022/Photo: Tj Walker

2021 - 2022
Elsa Muñoz

Elsa Muñoz is a Mexican-American artist born and raised on the South Side of Chicago (1983). Muñoz credits her interest in both nature and healing to her experience growing up in an underserved and often unsafe community with little access to green spaces. Having to spend most of her childhood indoors led to the cultivation of a rich inner world in which she was able to find beauty and sanctuary. Muñoz writes, “Beyond any particular message in my work I'm always fundamentally seeking to call upon and transmute my earliest encounters with the natural world–imaginary encounters which filled me with wonder and longing.”

Image: Elsa Muñoz, World as Self (2021). Oil on panel. Dimensions 8" x8"

2021 - 2022
Gunjan Kumar

Gunjan Kumar is an artist, independent scholar and educator based in Chicago originally from Punjab, India. She has spent many years traveling through India and other countries in South Asia, observing age-old practices in textiles and indigenous arts and crafts, visiting archeological sites, observing prehistoric paintings and other tribal arts. All these experiences form the undertone of her art practice. Her works have been exhibited at the South Asia Institute, Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, the Donnelley Foundation, Chicago Artist Coalition, Chicago Sculpture International Biennial, Chicago, National College of Arts, Lahore, American Embassy, Gallery Exhibit320, India Art Fair, New Delhi, among others. She is a resident artist at the Chicago Art Department, Chicago and has been a resident fellow at the Edward Albee Foundation, Montauk, NY in the past (2016-2017). Kumar is currently working on a project with an American Pakistani artist that presents their responses to exploration of archaeological sites and artifacts in the Sindhu (Indus) watershed, a geographical region extending across northwest India and much of Pakistan. This project premiered as a two-person show at the South Asia Institute, Chicago (June 2021) and was thereafter exhibited at the National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan (November 2021) and Gallery Exhibit 320, New Delhi, India (April 2022). To know more about the project, please visit this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3cpDHqQNpPA&t=3s

Kumar has lectured as Guest Faculty on Process, Material and History of Natural Pigments with focus on prehistoric cave art from around the world, also shedding light on derivative processes and media in related schools of art in Asia. As an independent educator, she has worked with art and design institutions such as Harper College, Palatine, IL, Olivet Nazarene University, Bourbonnais, IL, Pulitzer Arts Foundation, St.Louise, Design Museum of Chicago, Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, Chicago Artist Coalition, Chicago, among others. Kumar received her bachelor’s in economics (honors) from Mehr Chand Mahajan DAV College for Women, Chandigarh and is a postgraduate in Textiles from National Institute of Design and Technology, New Delhi.

Image: Gunjan Kumar, What Remains, (2021). Clay on Handwoven Raw Cotton. 48 x 36 inches

2021 - 2022
Helen Lee

Helen Lee (she/they) was born and raised in Chicago to immigrant parents from South Korea. She received her MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and BA from University of Hawaii at Manoa. She has had the privilege of presenting works in the US, South Korea, Japan, Germany, Iceland, Finland and Canada. Her performances have been published in “Emergency INDEX" by Ugly Duckling Press and films have been presented by Chicago Park District’s Chicago OnScreen. Their hope is that the work they create can help to amplify the voices of Asian American women, making their narratives more visible while building authentic, meaningful connections and build solidarity amongst the BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities. They were recently named Newcity Breakout Artist and are currently a HATCH Artist Residence with Chicago Artists Coalition and a Links Hall Co-MISSION Artist.

Image: Helen Lee, Everyday we live, we move closer to death, Window Exhibition at Roots & Culture. Photo by Carl Wiedemann.

2021 - 2022
Jade Williams

Jade Williams (she/her) is an interdisciplinary artist and designer whose practice reflects the ways that she engages in the radical traditions of alteration, adornment, collecting, and congregating. Each of these meditative actions possess a transformative quality, making them powerful vehicles for space making; and, when performed routinely, healing rituals. Using hair, gold hoops, acrylic nails, original surface patterns, and ornate fabrics, her works are heavily influenced by the 1970’s/80s, metaphysics and her matrilineal line. Jade received her BFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign and is a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her works have been exhibited at spaces including the Krannert Art Museum, the Evanston Art Center, the Leather Archives and Museum, Slate Arts and Performance Center, and Woman Made Gallery. Jade is a 2020 recipient of the One State Artist Project Grant, a 2021 recipient of the National Black Arts Festival Artist Project Fund, and a 2021 HATCH Artist Resident with the Chicago Artists Coalition. She currently lives and works in the Greater Chicago Area.

Image: Jade Williams, When I Think of Home (2022). Cyanotype Collage Prints on Cotton Paper. 130 in x 112 in (for the full wall), 24 in x 36 in per print.

2021 - 2022

King is a recent graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where they spent their time focusing on ceramics, bookmaking, and collecting. Their studio practice encourages conversations about healing generational trauma, the nature of memory, and the chain of living connection. They use “memory vessels” as a way to explore the intersection between the human desire to safeguard personal narrative and nostalgia, and the history of ceramic objects as vessels for storage and preservation. They are one of this year’s ArtAxis+Haystack Fellowship recipients, and are currently an artist in residence at The Digs Chicago.

Image: Jayne King, The Oak (2019). Porcelain and underglaze. Dimensions 24x12x12 inches.

2021 - 2022

Julia Franco is a Contemporary Artist based in Chicago, IL. Her artwork has evolved into colorful patterns and shapes merging together as a representation of strength and evolution. Her new art series was inspired by her fascination with fashion design, the human body and the wonder of how our thoughts are created. Her work is painted with custom mixed paints and diverse silk screen details. Julia’s portfolio continues to expand with her “le panther” series, murals and custom visual works.

Image: Julia Franco, Those Inner Battles (2022). Textured Screen Print on Canvas

2021 - 2022
Lola Ayisha Ogbara

LOLA AYISHA OGBARA (cultural worker & artist) born and raised in Chicago, Illinois holds many  talents under her belt, i.e. sculpture, sound, design, photography and installation art. !My practice explores the multifaceted implications and ramifications of being in regards to the Black experience. I  work with clay as a material in order to emphasize a necessary fragility which symbolizes an essential  contradiction implicit in empowerments”. Ogbara holds a Bachelor of Arts in Arts Entertainment &  Media Management from Columbia College Chicago in 2013 and a MFA in Visual Arts from Washington  University Sam Fox School of Art & Design. 

In 2017, Ogbara co-founded Artists in the Room, a collective of artists and scholars who host artists,  emerging and established, in hopes of serving as a catalyst for artist development and networking. Ogbara  has also received numerous fellowships and awards, including the Multicultural Fellowship sponsored by  the NCECA 52nd Annual Conference, the Arts + Public Life and Center for the Study of Race, Politics &  Culture Residency at the University of Chicago, and the Coney Family Fund Award hosted by the  Chicago Artists Coalition. 

Ogbara has exhibited in art spaces across the country and is currently based in Chicago, Illinois.

Heashot photo: Adrian Octavius Walker

Image: Lola Ayisha Ogbara, Bubblegum, Bubblegum. 2021. Ceramic stoneware, acrylic varnish, nylon. 30” x 18” x 20”.

Lucia learned to sew from Abuelita and learned to call it Fiber Art from Academia. They were raised by South American immigrants in the deep American South.

Lucia Calderon Arrieta (she/they) is a fiber artist + anti-racist educator residing in the traditional unceded lands of the Potowatomi, Peoria, Miami, Ojibwe, and Oglala Sioux (So-called Chicago). They investigate boundaries of identity through depicting emotional blobs and using skin conditions like bruising and eczema as metaphors for trauma held in a racialized body. Their most recent body of work is inspired by undersea ecosystems that find balance though constant flux. Bruised soft sculptures become denizens of the deepest, most pressurized, darkest crevasses, yet find their way through alternate systems of nourishment and touch.

Calderon Arrieta holds an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art, a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a BFA from Birmingham-Southern College. They have worked as an educator in many capacities, including their current roles at The Art Institute of Chicago and Lillstreet Art Center. They previously held roles as part-time lecturer at Chicago State University, teaching artist at the Allied Media Conference, and facilitator for incarcerated artists with the Youth Arts Alliance!. Calderon Arrieta has shown work in venues including The Hyde Park Arts Center (Chicago, IL), Heaven Gallery (Chicago, IL), The South Haven Center for the Arts (South Haven, MI), Durbin Gallery (Birmingham, AL), Flophouse Gallery (Berkeley, MI), and SOFA 2014 (Chicago, IL).

Image: Lucia Calderon Arrieta, Inner Child (Metiviosa), 2021, Mixed media including organza, latex, felt, 45 x 20 x 11 inch. Photo credit: Dan Christian

Caption: A blobby, purple and pink soft sculpture oozes horizontally across a white expanse. On the right, a round, lumpy head/body is covered in pink and purple puckers. On the left, thick, gnarly, felted tentacles trail behind.

2021 - 2022

As a Latinx (Mexican Indigenous/Afro- Puerto Rican) self-taught artist born in Chicago, the work I create lies at the intersection of community education, transforming space, and  visually depicting the narrative of our under-served black and brown communities. Art has been a force in my ability to re-imagine another world other than the one handed to us. To counter the contemporary issues we face as people of color I take abandoned spaces and replace them with aesthetically striking visuals that reflect our community’s identity. The narratives I paint are of the legacy our ancestors have long struggled for. This work is important for future generations so they may continue to be inspired to build the legacy and work of our people. My work draws from the aesthetics and techniques of early Mexican muralists, and the political culture/resiliency of Puerto Ricans from the island and here in Chicago. I have used my ethnic-identity, and talent to cultivate public art for the people, of the people.

Image: Luis Munoz, Boricua en La Luna: Juan Antonio Corretjer (2021). Puerto Rican Poet and Revolutionary, Juan Antonio wrote the poem Boricua en La Luna while visiting the Puerto Rican Community here in Chicago’s Humboldt Park. The beret he is wearing in the mural was given to him by Che Guevara.

2021 - 2022
MISU

Raised and bred on the Southside of Chicago, MISU is an interdisciplinary artist. They operate in the belief that memory, as active and vegetate liminal spaces, serves as an anchorage to reclaiming personal and cultural identity. Their work explores themes related to their personal history, such as vulnerability, fragmented realities, intersecting identities, and their cross-cultural upbringing as a Nigerian-American. Within these topics is the undercurrent of creating, holding, and sharing a memory.They work in media that activate living memory through painting, installation and photographic processes. As they continue to do the work to heal themselves, they seek to work through moments of catharsis in media and processes unfamiliar to them, to initiate new modes of coping in the present. They currently live and work in Chicago, IL.

Image: MISU, Heavy Handed, 2022, 35" x 34”, acrylic paint, spray paint, and paint marker on red rosin paper, is a recording of childhood memories of safety, harm, and abuse. 

2021 - 2022
NAYEON YANG

Nayeon Yang is an interdisciplinary artist based in Chicago. She moved to the US from S. Korea in 2006. Experiencing the implied status of a 'foreigner' now in both countries, she explores the politics of 'foreign(ness)' and 'presence' as well as capital and labor in a global society through her projects.

Yang has exhibited at different venues including Chicago Artists Coalition, Roots and Culture, Co-Prosperity Sphere, Defibrillator Performance Art Gallery (Chicago), 849 Gallery at the Kentucky College of Art and Design (Louisville), Roy G. Biv Gallery (Columbus), PAB Open (Bergen), Latitude 53 (Edmonton), Rund Gallery (Seoul), Suchang Youth Mansion (Daegu), and Mythtake Museum (Cheongpyeong). She received an MFA in Sculpture from the Ohio State University and a BFA from School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is an alumna of residencies such as HATCH Residency at Chicago Artists Coalition, Wedge Projects, High Concept Labs, Birdsell Project, ACRE, Wassaic Project, and others.

Image: Tomorrow’s News (2022). Two-channel video with four see-through mirror panels. The history of the transfer of the rayon industry in East Asia (projection 1) and in Europe and North America (projection 2). Dimensions variable.

(Installation view at Chicago Artists Coalition)

A Night Visible to the Naked Eye Project website: Avisiblenight.com

Art as (not) Labor website: Artaslabor.com

2021 - 2022
Nereida Patricia

Nereida Patricia (b. 1996, New York) is a multidisciplinary artist and writer based in Chicago, IL. Nereida’s practice spans sculpture, text, and performance, and explores themes of history, trans poetics, and identity. Her work draws from postcolonial and feminist theory, Peruvian and Caribbean symbolism, as well as autobiographical fragments, to build new mythologies around the transformation of the human body. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute Chicago and has also studied at The New School. Her work has been exhibited at venues including Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit; Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago; Roots and Culture, Chicago; Prairie Gallery, Chicago; Annka Kultys Gallery, London; the Museum of the Moving Image, Queens; The Knockdown Center, Queens; and POWERPLNT, Brooklyn, among others.

Image: Nereida Patricia, My Dreams Taught Me, (2021). Glass beads, glass dust, glitter, acrylic, paper clay, wood. Dimensions 1/2 x 49 1/4 x 5 inches

2021 - 2022

Scott Vincent Campbell (b. 1983, New York, NY) is a visual artist and curator. He earned a BA in Fine Art from Haverford College in 2005, and currently lives and works in Chicago, IL, where he just completed his MFA at The University of Chicago. Campbell’s work has been exhibited across the US at institutions such as the Urban Institute for Contemporary Art in Grand Rapids, MI; Library Street Collective in Detroit, MI; and Ronald Feldman Fine Arts in New York, NY. Campbell was a resident at Red Bull Arts Detroit in 2016, and in 2017 was the first Ford Curatorial Fellow at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. With a practice grounded in the methodology and traditions of assemblage, collage, and the re-purposed object, Campbell’s work explores one’s sense of self, and how it is influenced and mediated by the ways others see us.

Image: Scott Campbell, What are y'all lookin' at?, (2022). Acrylic paint, inkjet print, MDF, plastic beads, race bibs, red overhead light, safety pins, spray paint, steel, wire screen, wood. Dimensions 79 x 48 ¼ x 27 inches

2021 - 2022

Born in the western united states, Stones’ existing realm of work functions to identify portals between her lived experience and embedded generational knowledge to reinforce histories adjacent to, and in the making of her own. She leads in this pursuit with prioritization for her relationship to the natural world, spirituality, stewardship and curiosity. These themes, present and affirmed in most of her endeavors, are often brought forth through the application of analog photography, collage, mending, piecing, object-finding, horticulture, and prayer. Being that they are mediums also once practiced by her ancestors, she considers her orientation to these visual and elemental practices as inheritances; and favors them as individual entities working willfully in partnership with one another toward a more complete expression of communion, connection and liberation.

Image: Shelby Stone, “Untitled(twelve)”, 2020-2021, cyanotype on canvas, 4’x3’

2021 - 2022
Sofia Fernández Diaz

Sofía Fernández Díaz is a multidisciplinary artist  from Mexico City whose painting, fiber sculptures & installations seek to uncover the relationships between unrelated objects. Her intimate knowledge of both ancient & modern processes allows her to find commonalities between various materials (beeswax, fibers, natural dyes, glass, beads) through a combination of experimentation, intuition & play. Her familiarity with naturally occurring patterns & formations allows her to recreate these systems in her work, forming an immediate, visceral connection with her audience.

Image: Sofía Fernández Díaz, Install view, Amplificar los sentidos (2022). Wool, palm fiber, beeswax, glass, cochineal.

2021 - 2022

Sojourner is a community engaged performance, ritual and installation artist. Their work emerges from the intersections of site-specific research, relationship building and communication with the spirit world through character work, movement, visual installation, collage, voice and ritual. Sojourner's process of creating reveals collective truths, reconnects community to earth and centers the philosophy of interconnectivity. Sojourner is an artist that responds to people and earthly environment. Their process can call for the creation of a song, written text, a giant dream catcher, a peace circle training, self-love rituals or meditations. They hope to inspire personal transformation in both audiences and in the community during their process. Sojourner wants people to leave having experienced their spaces and creations with a deeper feeling of being held and seen and with a greater trust in their personal power.

Image: Sojourner Wright, Digital collage of native trees, flowers and grasses of Chicago and ancestral photos of Anna Murray Douglass (Fredrick Douglasses wife) and unnamed black femme ancestor. 

2021 - 2022

Sonja Henderson creates healing communal spaces to record personal, collectiveandancestral histories. Her use of Healing and Social Justice practice informs her artworkand how she engages with communities. “Restoration” of the mind, body, spirit andearth is Sonja’s point of departure, from Peace Circles to monuments. Sonja’s publicartwork and memorials are born in collaboration with the people and their neighborhoods to celebrate stories of healing, cultural identity and historic legacy. Sonja’s large scale public memorials like the “September 11 

th Wall of Remembrance”

at the Chicago History Museum, MLK Living Memorial in Marquette Park and theMamie Till-Mobley and Emmett Till Memorial to be cast in bronze for Argo Community High School (2023) are tributes to personal heroism and collective change. This work-in-progress has already gained Congressional Recognition andis slated by the Department of the Interior to be included in the protected national parks. Sonja believes interactive public art and communal spaces are powerful conduits to healing and reclaiming one's personal story and collective history. 

In January 2020, Sonja founded the Mothers Healing Circle (MHC) to help heal Lawndale mothers from trauma, due to the violent loss of their children. Together, through meditative visual art workshops, storytelling, singing and yoga the mothers have a shared virtual and real space to heal and disrupt the cycle of pain and trauma. Sonja’s studio practice is also informed by her community-based restorative practice. She is fascinated by materials, found objects and the intrinsic stories they have totell. Sonja is exploring the aspects of sound and vibrational healing in her personal workthrough her collaboration with musicians and healers. “The Ancestor and The Boom”is a headdress and holster adorned with ritual objects, healing medicine and anoriginal looped soundscape in the headphones. This ritual garment brings a senseof calm and connection when worn, the soundscape’s base rhythm is a heartbeat inamniotic fluid. Sonja seeks to create a series of soundscapes and intimate object pairs with Japanese music historian and archivist, Yoshi Takahashi. Sonja and Yoshi are currently writing, drawing and producing soundscapes together that tell a sharedhistory of Japanese and Indigenous American internment, culture and genius.

2021 - 2022

Tianna Bracey is an emerging artist employing portraiture to explore the subtleties of the painterly and figurative form. Her most recent series of work reimagined space as connection to ancestry. This included oil paintings that transformed portraits into whimsical dreamscapes to amplify the presence of generational storytelling by repurposing and reinventing elements from daily surroundings. Each work aimed to consider the ways in which familial ties, nostalgia, and memory could be woven into the fabric of daily life as an invitation to find purpose, strength and solace through heritage.

Tianna received a Bachelors of Art in Art History from the University of Missouri (Columbia, MO). Her work has been exhibited at The Chicago Athletic Association (Chicago, IL), Happy Gallery (Chicago, IL), The Martin (Chicago, IL) and Zhou B Art Center (Chicago, IL). Outside of her studio practice, she works with the South Side Community Art Center, managing the Public Art & Civic Engagement (PACE) Capacity Building Initiative granted to the organization by Mural Arts Philadelphia. She also serves as Studio Manager to muralist, curator, and educator Dorian Sylvain. In 2021, she was awarded the Curious Creators Grant from curious elixirs (Brooklyn, NY) and the New Futures award from Saatchi Art’s The Other Art Fair (London, UK).

Image: Tianna Bracey, to keep the bees away, 2021, oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches.

2021 - 2022
wen-liu.com/

Wen Liu was born in Shanghai, China and is currently based in Chicago, IL. She is a DCASE Individual Artists Program Grantee for 2018, 2019 and 2020, and received the Illinois Arts Council Agency 2020 Artist Fellowship Award. She has attended residencies at Vermont Studio Center, MASS MoCA, ACRE, Hyde Park Art Center and The RAiR Foundation. Her work has been exhibited in the National Grand Theater in Beijing, China; 6018/North, Zhou B Art Center, Manifold Gallery, Lubeznik Center for the Arts in Michigan City, IN, Culture Center in Chicago; and Tiger Strikes Asteroid.

Image: Wen Liu, For Those I Have Never Met Found, handkerchief ash, found table cloth ash, clay, reclaimed wood 36 x 80 x 70 inches

2021 - 2022

Xingyi Zhao is a Chicago-based artist. She creates prints and handwoven textiles that investigate our relationship with domestic space and everyday objects. By taking daily life as subject matter while commenting on the everyday aesthetic of the 21st century, her work deals with memory, privacy, and a sense of forced optimism with a subtle minimalistic approach. She earned her BFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Image: Xingyi Zhao, Intertwining Study (2021). Monotype on handmade paper. Dimensions 9 x 12 inches each

2021 - 2022
Yoonshin Park

Yoonshin Park is a Chicago based multimedia artist, curator, and educator working with sculptural papers, artist books, and installations. Her interest in the comprehensive process of papermaking and bookbinding caters her work to encompass various elements woven into complete objects. She often uses her experience as a foreign transplant to question space and its implications in defining one's identity as the inspiration behind her work.

She received her M.A. and M.F.A. in Interdisciplinary Book and Paper Arts from Columbia College Chicago. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and reviewed by TimeOut Chicago and Sculpture Magazine.

Park was born in Seoul, Korea, and currently resides in Chicago, IL.

Image: Yoonshin Park, Absent whispers, 2021, Handmade paper (hanji), ink, thread, fabric, 18 ½” (w) x 24” (h) x 2” (d) each (2 panels)

2021 - 2022

Yue Xu was born and raised in Guangzhou, China, and is currently living in Chicago. Works include inflatable, video installation, drawings, and artists’ books. Xu’s practices focus on the habitual surroundings and objects of daily life, and observing the serendipitous and yet absurd surprises of their occurrence is her interest. The work creates temporary space by using political methods underneath to discuss the possibility under the different power structures, but with a playful element. Xu earned her MFA in the School of Art Institute of Chicago in 2021.

Image: Yue Xu, HOMEMADE HOME, (2022).  Nylon, household fan, mixed materials

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