Sound has been vital to emancipatory moments of resistance in the African Diaspora. Drums, the voice, and the spirit have all served as vessels for sonic expressions of liberation in the legacy of the black experience. Artist, curator, and deejay Sadie Woods has a made a career out of producing and curating sounds reflective of histories of rebellion, collective protest, and restorative healing from a global Black perspective. Her work has consistently embodied innovative practices of social justice by way of music.
Woods’ artistic practice through sculpture and sound has consistently demonstrated how sound has been embedded in the many legacies of Black liberation that have transpired locally and nationally. Sound pieces like her site-specific radio broadcast “It Was a Rebellion” for the fiftieth anniversary of the 1968 Chicago “riots,” revealed how the quest for freedom roots back to ancestral beginnings in the Caribbean, the continent of Africa and beyond—from Ferguson to Baltimore, to the Civil Rights Era, all the way to the emancipation of the first Black republic in Haiti.
Her solo exhibition Coyaba draws from this multi-ethnic lineage of emancipatory practices through presenting new and old work across the mediums of wood, collage, sculpture and photography. Coyaba—a word of Arawakan and Taino origins meaning ‘heaven’—is an idyllic place of eternal tranquility without catastrophe. Woods’ newest work on view– her ongoing series of wooden music boxes–understand the material of wood as an expression of sacred ritual, cultural memory-work, ancestral narratives, and healing through sound. In an effort to transcend the injustices of our present day, she uses these music boxes as signifiers for the longer genealogies that we belong to. Through industrial material, found objects, repurposed music sheets, and more, Coyaba gives viewers access to the communal and personal narratives that have shaped our collective consciousness in Black liberation.
Coyaba opens Friday, May 10th, 2019 at 1520 East Harper Court, Chicago, Illinois from 6:00-9:00pm. The opening reception will feature performances in a life-size music box, built in collaboration with Norman Teague, including a deejay set by Duane Powell. Exhibition programs include an artist talk on Wednesday, May 29th from 6:00-8:00pm and an all-ages music box making workshop on Sunday, June 2nd from 12:00-2:00pm. Exhibition runs through Saturday, June 14th, 2019. Curated by Sabrina Greig and Ciera McKissick.
About the Artist
A Chicago native with a childhood steeped in performing and visual arts training, Sadie Woods has had an exciting career, showcasing her talents everywhere from academia to nightclubs, boutiques to museums. As an award winning artist, curator, and deejay, her practice includes visual art, sound design, exhibition making, and collaborations within communities of difference. Woods received her BA from Columbia College and MFA from The School of the Art Institute. Woods is currently Faculty at the School of the Art Institute, the Residents Orchestrate Project Manager at the Chicago Sinfonietta, resident DJ at Lumpen Radio, Sound Designer for Brujos webseries, and freelances as an artist and curator.
About the Curators
Sabrina Greig is a writer and curator originally from New York City. At the intersection of social activism and Art History, her curatorial practice uses exhibition spaces to showcase experiences unique to Diasporic communities on the margins. She has curated exhibitions at the Haitian American Museum of Chicago, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Chicago Artist Coalition, and ACRE Project Galleries. In December 2017, she was a participant in the Ghetto Biennial located in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. She has published work in Arts.Black, Contemporary And, Bad at Sports, and Sixty Inches from the Center, and has been featured in Hyperallergic, The Chicago Tribune, and The Observer. She currently works in philanthropy in arts education.
Ciera Mckissick is the founder of AMFM, a Chicago-based creative arts brand that provides exhibitions, web-based content and curated events for emerging and established artists. As a curator and producer, she seeks to combine the arts to cultivate dynamic community, access, diversity, inclusivity, and intergenerational interaction. Projects and events for AMFM have been featured at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Allied Media Conference in Detroit, on Chicago’s Fox 32, and published in The Chicago Reader, where AMFM was named “Best New Gallery,” The Chicago Sun-Times, Southside Weekly, Afropunk, The Milwaukee Business Journal, Millennial Magazine, and more.
About Connect Gallery
Connect Gallery started as a three-day pop-up art fair spanning the intersection of visual and performing art, designed objects, film, music, fashion and literary culture. Occupying three different exhibition spaces and storefronts in Downtown Hyde Park, Connect Art Fair engaged with some of Chicago’s leading artists, curators and art institutions within the burgeoning Hyde Park neighborhood. The pop-up fair attracted thousands of visitors and was recognized by The Chicago Reader as the “Best Public Art Fair” in Chicago. Following the success of the Connect Art fair and their drive to present art as an agent for change, Connect Gallery opened residence in Hyde Park’s Harper Square.