Chicago Artists Coalition is pleased to present Excavating Memory, a group exhibition that features new artworks by HATCH Residents Katie Chung and Unyimeabasi Udoh. The exhibition opens on Friday, February 21, with a public reception from 5-8pm. On view: February 21 – April 2, 2020
Excavating Memory is a journey into the world of archiving, memorializing and reclaiming cultural erasure. Using photography, drawing, sculptural objects and mix-media installations, Katie Chung and Unyimeabasi Udoh resurrect memories that communicate the subtleties and multiple layers of self with the freeing statement, “I define me”.
Katie Chung’s work explores Korean-American identity through memories of family life and language while honoring the process of repetitive work and labor. She brings dignity and reverence to storied objects like old scissors long forgotten and the traditional Korean dress, the hanbok.
Chung’s work pays homage to remembering elements or items used within the confines of a service sector immigrant business enterprise. Her art refers to personal history, cultural memory and self. They are crafted in materials imbued with deep cultural meaning like the use of dry cleaning tags that points to her childhood environment.
In contrast, Unyimeabasi Udoh brings up the past by inscribing it in the context of cultural anthropology and ethnographic practices. They cleverly destabilize the western gaze and challenge dominant-culture museums that catalog and display the “African” in a “cabinet of curiosities,” reinforcing the fraught notion of “the other” as a primitive culture and society.
Udoh forces us to reframe the ways we “see” and what it means to be “on display” by turning our assumptions of identity on its head. With the use of language/text and the juxtaposition of photography and installation art, Udoh also presents us with visions of vacant landscapes, devoid of human presence, that usher sentiments of longing and self-alienation.
Excavating Memory is curated by Juelle Daley.
Image: Katie Chung, Rote, 2019, Ball point pen on paper, 12 x 16 in.