Apr 15th 2023

Artist Safi Alia Shabaik: PERSONALITY CRASH: Special Programming

@ 1100 Florence

1100 Florence Ave, Evanston, IL 60202

Opening Saturday, April 15th, from 10AM - 1PM

On view through Sunday, April 30th

Photographer, Interdisciplinary Artist Safi Alia Shabaik Brings Exhibition “PERSONALITY CRASH: Portraits of My Father Who Suffered from Advanced Stages of Parkinson’s Disease, Dementia, and Sundowners Syndrome” to Chicago

The Exhibition is Presented in Partnership with the Parkinson’s Foundation and is Made Possible by a Generous Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

CHICAGO (March 21, 2023) – Los Angeles native, photographer and interdisciplinary artist Safi Alia Shabaik had been living and working in New York City for almost a decade when she heard from her mother that her father was having health issues – she noticed something was different and suspected a stroke. In 2009, shortly after Shabaik returned home to California to help her dad, he received a Parkinson’s disease (PD) diagnosis. Shabaik eventually became his primary caregiver until his death on January 1, 2018. Their creative and existential collaboration – “Personality Crash: Portraits of My Father Who Suffered from Advanced Stages of Parkinson’s Disease, Dementia, and Sundowners Syndrome” – grew out of their momentous time together. The exhibition, which features imagery from the last year of Shabaik’s father’s life, opens on Saturday, April 1 at 1100 Florence Gallery, with an artist’s reception from 3 – 8 p.m.

An exploration of loss and a testament to the power of love, the project examines the human condition when altered by disease from an intimate perspective. Previously an engineering professor at UCLA, Shabaik’s father, Aly H. Shabaik, was considered a brilliant intellect. She began photographing him in 2014, and it was a mutual decision to document his journey, which in essence became his end-of-life journey. He even inadvertently came up with the project’s title. Shabaik said: “One day in his final year, he was trying to explain something to me, and he started talking about ‘personality crashes.’ I asked who was having the personality crash, and he said it was him. That’s when I realized he was very aware of what was happening to him, and in that moment, we also had a title – Personality Crash.”

The exhibition is presented in partnership with the Parkinson’s Foundation through a generous Visual Arts Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Shabaik said: “I am humbled and elated by the NEA’s thoughtful recognition of this project, and I am deeply honored to partner with the Parkinson’s Foundation to exhibit Personality Crash, celebrating the intersection of art and science while bringing visibility to the broader PD community and encouraging discourse on the intricacies of disease, end-of-life care, and dying with dignity. My father would be proud to know that his struggle with the disease will now become something life-affirming.”

On Saturday, April 15, there will also be an afternoon of special programming titled “Personality Crash: The Intersection of Art and Science in PD,” featuring a presentation by Shabaik and moderated conversations on topics including PD and creativity, family caregiving, patient advocacy, end-of-life care, and dying with dignity. The webinar program, which begins at 10:30 a.m., will be live-streamed, and following the event, the public is invited to visit the gallery in person from 1 – 5 p.m. for an artist meet and greet. The exhibition runs through April 30. Event registration is required; additional details on all event dates and times can be found below.

To register, visit Parkinson.org/ArtandScience or call (312) 786-4653.


About Safi Alia Shabaik
Safi Alia Shabaik, known by her moniker flashbulbfloozy, is a Los Angeles-based interdisciplinary artist working in photography, collage, sculpture, and experimental video. She discovered her visual voice at a very young age in a children’s pinhole camera class at the California Museum of Science and Industry. She earned her B.A. in Fine Art with honors at UCLA. Under the mentorship of Catherine Opie, she learned the art of large-scale color printing in Opie’s custom-built darkrooms. Upon moving to New York, Safi became fashion stylist, photographic documentarian, personal assistant, travel companion and confidante to the legendary Ms. Grace Jones in her personal and public lives. She was given free rein to photograph anytime they were together.

Safi’s photographic work explores identity, persona, transformation, daily life, and the humanity of all people. Her subject matter spans the self, family, street life, and counterculture – people who push their bodies to extremes and challenge societal norms. Safi exhibits her work nationally and has been featured in publications including The New York Times, Black+White Photography, Lenscratch, Alta Journal, Catalyst: Interviews, CameraCraft, VoyageLA, The Advocate, Upworthy.com, Edge Of Humanity, Artillery Magazine, Shoutout LA, and in Grace Jones’ book: I’ll Never Write My Memoirs. She has been featured on The Candid Frame and has been recognized in Photolucida’s Critical Mass Top 50. Connect with Safi on flashbulbfloozy.com and Instagram.

About the Parkinson’s Foundation
The Parkinson’s Foundation makes life better for people with Parkinson’s disease by improving care and advancing research toward a cure. In everything we do, we build on the energy, experience and passion of our global Parkinson’s community. Since 1957, the Parkinson’s Foundation has invested more than $425 million in Parkinson’s research and clinical care. Connect with us on Parkinson.org, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or call 1-800-4PD-INFO (1-800-473-4636).

About Parkinson’s Disease
Affecting an estimated one million Americans and 10 million worldwide, Parkinson’s disease is the second-most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s and is the 14th-leading cause of death in the U.S. It is associated with a progressive loss of motor control (e.g., shaking or tremor at rest and lack of facial expression), as well as non-motor symptoms (e.g., depression and anxiety). There is no cure for Parkinson’s and 90,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the U.S. alone.

Location: 1100 Florence Gallery is located at 1100 Florence Ave, Evanston, IL 60202.

Opening Reception: Saturday, April 1, from 3 – 8 p.m. (gallery opens at 12 p.m.)

Special Programming: Saturday, April 15, from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. (reception until 5 p.m.)
Agenda to be updated.
10 a.m. Check-in
10:30 a.m. Program begins
1 p.m. Program ends (reception with artist until 5 p.m.)

Closing: Sunday, April 30, from 12 – 5 p.m.

Regular Gallery Hours: April 1 – 30
Wednesdays & Fridays: 5 – 8 p.m.
Saturdays & Sundays: 12 – 5 p.m.
Or by appointment at 1100florencegallery@gmail.com and (847) 544-8205

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