Opening Sunday, June 18th, from 5PM - 6PM
On view through Sunday, July 9th
Letters to Lost Loved Ones
Screening + Conversation
June 18th, 2023 @ 5pm CST
at Heaven Gallery
Join us for Letters to Lost Loved Ones: Screening + Conversation as a part of Too Long; Didin’t Read on view at Heaven Gallery.
Letters to Lost Loved Ones is a documentary short by filmmaker Jose Luis Benavides created in collaboration with the Illinois Deaths in Custody Project and several incarcerated people in Illinois prisons during the Covid-19 pandemic. Compiled from many correspondences, this short film traces nine incarcerated individuals’ experiences of the lockdown, untimely deaths, and institutional neglect. Animations and archival footage transform their letters, journal entries, poems, and reflections into a somber reprieve on injustice, mourning, loss, and healing. After the screening of the 18 minute film there will be a conversation between Jose, the filmmaker, and local scholar, Therese Quinn.
Jose Luis Benavides is Latinx and queer video artist, educator and writer. He combines collaborative, curatorial, moving image, photographic, research, and writing practices to queer media representations and institutional memory around race, class and gender. Working primarily with a range of personal archives, his work explores issues relating to migration, sexuality, and culture. Benavides has worked as a teaching artist with the National Museum of Mexican Art, Young Chicago Authors, Chicago Arts Partnership in Education and the Chicago Public Library. He has also taught within the Cook County jail system and he is an active project manager with the Illinois Deaths in Custody Project.
Therese Quinn is the Director of Museum and Exhibition Studies and Affiliated Faculty with Gender & Women’s Studies and Curriculum Studies and has worked as an exhibit researcher, developer, and evaluator for the Field Museum of Natural History, the Chicago Children’s Museum, the California Academy of the Sciences, and other cultural institutions. She received National Endowment for the Humanities (2018, 2017) and Fulbright (Finland, 2009) awards; coedits the Teachers College Press Series, Teaching for Social Justice; is an elected representative of the faculty union, UIC United Faculty; and is a founding member of the Illinois Deaths in Custody Project (IDCP), Chicagoland Researchers and Advocates for Transformative Education (CReATE), and Teachers Against Militarized Education (TAME).
Voices and letters by Lamonte Dixon, Tammy Englerth, Nia Frazier, Phillip Hartsfield, Kenneth Key, Angie Oaks, Ricky Patterson, Erika Ray, and Devon Terrell. Animations by Andrew Grant. Produced by Illinois Deaths in Custody Project team, including Alkebuluan Merriweather, Erica Meiners, Therese Quinn, and Matthew Yasuoka. Directed and edited by Jose Luis Benavides. Made possible with the generous grant from the Illinois Humanities’ Envisioning Justice program.