Apr 14th 2017

Intercessions: Art as Intervention and Prayer

@ Rootwork Gallery

645 W 18th Street, Chicago, IL 60616

Opening Friday, April 14th, from 6:30PM - 9:30PM

On view through Sunday, May 21st

The artists who come together for Rootwork Gallery’s fifth show, ‘Intercessions’ highlighting both experimental visual and performance art, share a mutual orientation in that their works are inspired by or created on behalf of individuals and communities whose voices are unheard, discounted, or still rising.

With the gallery in sum functioning as a site of intercessory prayer or spiritual intervention, this exhibition and the performances set inside it ask visitors to consider the connections and disconnections between the body and the spirit; the sacred and the profane; what is digested and what is discarded; what occurs and what is remembered; and finally, how others see us and how we see ourselves.

In ‘Ways and Means’ multi-disciplinary artist Bob Faust activates the gallery’s windows by reflecting on values that are often introduced to us through our parents, mentors and peers. These constructs can function as filters as well as signposts illuminating which leaders we embrace and which we must resist.

With his evocative series of portraits of his former students, artist and high school teacher E. Rashad Clark reimagines ‘Picture Day’. Through his mixed media drawings, many made dimensional with hair, Clark honors the intense physical and psychic navigation often required of his students just to get to and remain in school.

When painter, sculptor and performance artist Maya Amina first encountered George Bernard Shaw’s 1932 illustrated book of short stories, ‘The Adventures of the Black Girl in Her Search for God’ in her grandparent’s library, she felt called to begin to explore what she calls “a line of questioning into the systems” of western spiritual ‘education’ and thought.

Photographer Hana L. Anderson recasts street musicians as ‘Unsung Magicians’ in her study of New Orleans’ Young Fellaz Brass Band a revolving corps of young players that has been a staple of that city’s fabled Frenchmen street for years. Called by their ‘reverberating’ and ‘magical spirit’ Anderson is engaged in a long term brass band documentation project.

When Lydia A. Douglas first premiered her pioneering documentary film ‘Nappy’ chronicling Black women’s decisions to wear their natural hair in the late 90’s, she was part of a young cohort of talented Black, DIY filmmakers who would pave the way for the visual storytellers we see today. Douglas’s photography is now part of the Smithsonian’s permanent collection and has been shown in many other museums.

Rootwork founding curator, Tracie D. Hall devised her ritual performance, ‘Making My Mother’s Bed’ to explore her lingering grief over her mother’s death through the making of a bed over a 7 hour period, The footage from that intimate experience was captured by artist, Anansi Knowbody and is shown here for the first time.

Painter and object maker Adrienne Powers just closed the highly successful “Everyday Rituals” show at Rootwork Gallery in which she exhibited alongside photographer Tonika Johnson. She was commissioned to create the exhibition’s intercessory ‘Prayer Rug’.

Percussion and mixed media artist Xristian Espinoza was commissioned to create an installation ‘Prayer Player’ which can be activated as a literal act of intercessory prayer functioning to bless all those who enter.

Curated by Tracie. D. Hall

Visual Work for the Intercessions Exhibition will be on view April 14-May 21, 2017

Maya Amina
Hana L. Anderson
Lydia Douglas
Xris Espinoza
Bob Faust
Tracie D. Hall (media collaboration with Anansi Knowbody)
E. Rashad Clark

Live Performances/Presentations are as scheduled

April 14 (Opening night from 7-9:30 pm) — “Invocations” Improvised performances by Maya Amina and Xris Espinoza

April 21 (10 am- Noon) — Open Engagement Conference Community Program hosted by Rootwork, “Arts Spaces and Placekeeping as Resistance” with artists Sam Kirk and curators from Cultura Pilsen, Pilsen Outpost, and Rootwork Gallery

April 22 (7:30-9:30 pm) — “Stranger in the City” An evening of music and poetry with Rashida Phillips and Roger Bonair Agard

May 5 (2-4:15 pm) — “Manifest Decks” A workshop that takes Vision Boards to the next level by guiding participants through the creation of personalized oracle decks complete with their own sacred symbol with Tracie D. Hall and Adrienne Powers

May 12 (Dusk/7 pm to 9 pm) — “REMEMBER: A Journey into the History of the Self” An immersive evening of performance and music using the body as a divination tool with Alana Parekh and David Boykin

May 20 (3-5 pm) — “Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of Nappy: The documentary film that set out to capture the beginning of the contemporary Black Women’s natural hair movement” with documentary filmmaker Lydia A. Douglas. Screening followed by conversation with the Douglas

May 21 (2-6 pm) — Truthtelling as Prayer: Beauty Breaks at Rootwork Gallery featuring Krista Franklin reading from her much lauded body of poems, “The Killing Floor”

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