Apr 5th 2021

What Time Is It? debuts a rotating series of large-scale digital portraits of some of Chicago’s most influential cultural community members on the facade of the Hyde Park Art Center. These 50 hand-painted portraits, created by Chicago-based artist and organizer, Irina Zadov, highlight contemporary artists, authors, activists and thinkers working now to radically transform our city.

The digital portrait series represents individuals across the spectrum of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, ability, and age – with a focus on Chicago’s Black, Indigenous, POC, and LGBTQIA+ communities and includes Makazin Alexander, D’onmonique Lovie Boyd, Rachel Caidor, Stefan Caizaguano, Aymar Jean Christian, Teishetta Daniel, Marcus Davis, Jordan Easen, William Estrada, Krista Franklin, Emmanuel Garcia, Silvia Inez Gonzalez, Tracie D. Hall, Benji Hart, Juarez Hawkins, Tempestt Hazel, Brenda Hernandez, Zeb Hurst, Tonika Johnson, Juniper, Faheem Majeed, Nicole Marroquin, Vivi More, Patricia Nguyen, Zakkiyyah Najeeba Dumas O’Neal, Todd Palmer, Hilesh Patel, Fawn Pochel, Aislinn Pulley, Compton Quashie, Kamilah Rashied, Brant Rosen, Rochele Royster, Natalia Smirnov, David Stovall, Alexis Villagomez, Savannah Wood, Chun-Shan “Sandie” Yi, and avery r. young. For a complete list of these portraits, go to https://www.irinazadov.com/whattimeisit.

The title of the exhibition derives from a quote from American revolutionary and philosopher Grace Lee Boggs (1915-2015) who, along with her husband and civil rights activist, Jimmy Boggs, visualized 3,000 years of human history on a 12-hour clock where each minute represents 50 years. Boggs asked her collaborators and critics alike, “what time is it on the clock of the world?” Extending this metaphor, the couple argued that revolution as the primary driver of social change is only 5 minutes old. Since May 2020, Zadov has used the medium of portrait painting and dialogue to engage artists and organizers around this question, while re-imagining community safety, radical care, housing, displacement, belonging, climate justice, access, and accountability.

The portraits are one part of a larger cultural and civic archive developed by Zadov including podcasts produced by Najee-Zaid Searcy, a publication, and a public art series in collaboration with J Sath and Rivka Yeker of Hooligan Creatives that is installed within neighborhoods where the individuals reside, with an emphasis on the South and West Sides of Chicago. For more information on this archive titled What Time Is It? visit https://www.irinazadov.com/whattimeisit.

Irina Zadov (she/they) is/are an artist, educator, and cultural organizer. A queer post-Soviet Jewish refugee, their practice explores the liminal space between the individual and the collective, diasporic community and chosen family, the home and the state. Zadov aims to co-create joyful, healing, and liberatory spaces for youth, people of color, immigrants, and LGBTQIA+ communities. Zadov is a student of adrienne maree brown and Mariame Kaba; their highest intention is to practice emergent strategy and abolition within all aspects of their life. Learn more about their practice at irinazadov.com. https://www.irinazadov.com/

What Time Is It? is supported by the Illinois Arts Council.

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