Sep 25th 2020

September 25- November 6th

“BEING: Welcome to Humanity” features seven up-and-coming Chicago-based contemporary artists who reflect on the perception of mental health and human emotion. It aims to shift the way that we view mental health by featuring raw, expressive imagery that speaks to the human in us all. Being stares into the darkness of human reflection and unlocks a universe of emotion. These artists dive deep into the burden of sentience and bring their mental health stories to the table. Here; we are removing the varnish, manifesting the true self, and creating a place of comfort and understanding. Being will hurt and heal. Join us as we traverse this winding path and embrace emotional release.

“The combination of works confronts the internalized nature of mental illnesses among POC as a result of generational teachings. The show was conceptualized after a conversation I had with my mother after seeking out mental health counselling. Upon speaking to her I understood that my propensity for mismanaging and developing a façade for my depression comes from an imprint of generational stigma. The research that followed concluded that this stigma is prevalent among POC as a result of needing to develop an emotional shield from oppression and its impact.”

– Statement by Ahniya Butler – Curator of “BEING” & Co-Prosperity Programming Council member. Ahniya previously co-curated Shut Up Stone Mountain, which opened in June 2019; this will be her first solo curatorial endeavor at Co-Prosperity.

/ Programming for BEING will include:

*Comfort Food
Viewable on Youtube @ ComfortFoodTV
New videos released October 14th & 28th
Food provides an intimate connection with our personal moods and is often a pathway to the healing powers of our ancestors. Join artists in the exhibitions as they create comfort food recipes from across the country while telling the stories behind each dish.

Submit your dish and story to be considered for inclusion here:

*MENtalk Health
October 9th & 23rd, 7:30 PM
This interactive live forum will feature four male-identifying artists discussing their mental health and navigating through stigma to promote better mental health care for men.

*BEING: Welcome to the Artist
November 4th, 7PM
Join the artists from the exhibition on Twitch where we will discuss our inspirations, methods of self care, and answer your most pressing questions.

/ How to visit the show

Sign up here to schedule a visit:

Due to COVID-19, the exhibition will not have a public opening, but visitors will be able to sign up for viewing hours Thursday, Friday, and Sunday 12-6 or by special appointment. One guest or small group (10 or fewer) at a time will be greeted by co-prosperity staff and welcomed to view the show in 30 minute increments. We ask that visitors maintain social distancing and keep masks on in the gallery. Wheelchair ramps are available and restrooms are gender neutral and wheelchair accessible.

/ This exhibition features works from:

* Ahniya Butler & Christopher Travis

Ahniya Butler is an undergraduate student at UIC, an independent curator hailing from Robbins Illinois with a love for herbalism cooking, and ancestral connections. In her personal art practice Butler’s sculptural and photographic work centers around human existentialism, the ephemerality of life, and navigating human emotion.

Christopher Travis is a recent graduate of the University of Chicago with degrees in Cinema and Media studies and African American studies. Travis is a writer and director of short films that embody reality and create organic, human moments.

* Angela Redmond

Angela Redmond uses her art to tell my story through personal and current societal events; as a means to promote social change. She uses the subject of social justice to insist on change in stereotypes of cultures through the concept of humanistic emotions. Using color she emphasizes the complexities of race and its value to human emotions and behaviors. Compelled by the portrait and the figure; she robustly applies the oil paint on the canvas to bring the applied texture to the actual. Her work is not limited to the voice of one culture, but is speaking to all in our community, our society, our human race; while we respect our differences and honor our similarities.

* Santana Villanueva
Santana is a graffiti artist, painter and recent graduate from ISU whose works feature chaotic arrays of shapes, lines, and figures in an explosively colorful manner.

* Soulart
A Pilsen native, musician, artist and electronics mechanic Soulart has always had a passion for expressing his true self through art. Each abstract painting is interwoven with a story of depression ,anxiety, racism and addiction and proves that beauty can come from such dark spaces in life. Abstract oil painting is his current favorite medium to release the fire from within his soul.

* Timothy Cooper Jr
We do not translate emotion through any spoken language, but rather with our bodies. Cooper’s art has grown to reflect that within each work. Every piece is a construction of rich emotion that captures feelings and moods never defined by society, beautifully expressed through a lens. Each work can not simply be categorized as photography but instead well expressed poetry.

* Yvette Lara
A Chicago native and graduate of Texas A&M, Through the lens of a young WOC, Yvette Lara creates photography, paintings, and videos that embody restless anxiety and help you find your way back home.

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