Chicago Artists Coalition is pleased to present Crossings, a duo exhibition featuring new works by current HATCH 2021-2022 artists-in-residence Anwulika Anigbo and Farah Salem, curated by Yi Cao. The exhibition will be on view from April 15 – May 26, 2022, with an opening reception on Friday, April 15, 5-8pm.
Historically, human migrations across the Atlantic Ocean, Sahara Desert, and Red Sea, spurred by colonization and capitalism, have had catastrophic consequences. In their respective works, Anigbo and Salem invoke personal experiences and reference the sacred and mythical West African and Afro-Arab worlds, to illuminate cultural hybridity and transformation.
Informed by Chinua Achebe’s African Trilogy and Wole Soyinka’s poetry, Anigbo brings family migration, Igbo mythological themes, and pre-colonial realities in dialogue with the practice of everyday life. Whether capturing the vulnerability of her family through photography or accessing her ancestral home on canvas, Anigbo asks: what is the purpose of collecting memory outside of proving our legitimacy in a battle to fabricate a truth viewed as absolute? Salem reimagines instruments used in healing rituals by historically oppressed and socially isolated groups of women to mitigate the anxiety and stressors during the radical societal shift after the oil discoveries and the pre-oil era in Kuwait. Through archives, oral stories, and personal memories, Salem traces this practice in the Arabian peninsula that originally came from the East African Diaspora to reactivate the musical sound and dance movement that welcome varied contemporary interpretations.
This exhibition sees the artists, both rooted initially in photography, expand their respective practices into new media such as fiber-materials, natural pigments, media installation, paintings, and performance. The complementary media draw visitors to the intersection of many lands, memories, and truths, ultimately connecting across the wounds, healing, and scar tissue of history.
Farah Salems’ Uninhibited: People of the Earth project is supported in part by the Emergency Grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts.