EVANSTON ART CENTER ANNOUNCES A NEW EXHIBITION, I AM A HUMAN, FEATURING WORK BY ALYSSA MARIE BEECH, NIAZ KAUSAR, PARITA M. SHAH AND SHANE KENGO KENNEDY, CURATED BY NIAZ KAUSAR.
The Evanston Art Center (EAC) is proud to present a new exhibition, I AM A HUMAN, featuring work by Alyssa Marie Beech, Niaz Kausar, Parita M. Shah and Shane Kengo Kennedy, curated by Niaz Kausar.
I AM A HUMAN is a group show of artists within underrepresented groups of the North Shore and Chicagoland area. Each artist brings their own visual perspective and concepts of how empathy plays a role in coexisting with each other as Americans.
This crucial time in American history has not only polarized the country but also brought together and activated many communities. America’s movements and constant fight for social justice has simultaneously empowered individuals and overlooked minorities and the overall humanity and goals of the United States of America.
At the moment of heartbreak, in the midst of conflict, and at the end of struggle, we are at our most vulnerable. These moments of intense emotion remind us, even for a moment, of how human we are. The human condition is universal and as Americans we have more in common than we have differences, I AM A HUMAN strives to invoke empathy and create space for a conversation about what empathy is.
The dream is that THE history of America can be written from here on out to include all Americans, dreamers and citizens with humanity and dignity. By starting with what it means to have empathy for others and for one’s self and brainstorming with the viewer on how to teach it. I AM A HUMAN is just the beginning.
ABOUT THE CURATOR
Niaz Kausar is a Pakistani American. Adopted from Lahore, Pakistan and raised in the Chicagoland area, Niaz’s work features narratives and conversations about what it can mean to have a Pakistani identity outside of Pakistan.
Niaz is a painter, printmaker and textile artist, her use of media is informed by the concepts in her pieces. She strives to define what home is, within herself and geographically.
By using bright vibrant colors and patterns from a nostalgic space in her existence, she expresses the desire to connect with her country of origin while attempting to invoke the viewers connection to humanity. Niaz is inspired by the need to speak on the behalf of the oppressed and the struggle within.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Alyssa Marie Beech is a Chicago born and based artist whose practice is rooted in the process of making and breaking rules through a multitude of approaches to drawing. Beech graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2014 with a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree with an emphasis in Art Education. She currently works as a visual arts educator in Chicago Public Schools; Beech has been teaching for 8 years and considers teaching to be an integral part of her identity as an artist.
Alyssa views art as play, something that she can return to for meditation and decompression from daily stressors. For the majority of her life, drawing has served as a process of learning new technical approaches and exploring where those approaches are able to take her; it has always been about finding a way to communicate and manage her thoughts and “over thoughts.” Through the process of mark-making, Alyssa is able to create compositions of shapes, lines, and color fields that express the way that she feels as she navigates life. As a black, woman artist, her time is spent adhering to specific rules and regulations as she navigates from space to space and through art-making she is able to enjoy breaking imagined artistic rules of her own along the way.
Parita M. Shah was born in Southfield, Michigan to parents of Indian origin. The family shifted to Marion, Ohio, and traveled often to Gujarat, India. Parita began using drawing, painting, music, and photography to express her voice during those formative years. In 2009, Parita graduated from high school in Columbus, Ohio and enrolled as a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, acquiring her Bachelors of Fine Arts in 2012, with a focus in printmaking. Traveling back to India in 2018, this time to Tamil Nadu, Parita spent one year in residency at Auroville Papers during which she began incorporating papermaking and bookmaking into her work.
Parita’s creative works are inspired by her cross-cultural life, growing up as a part of the Immigrant Community living in the Midwest United States. Her inspirations include the Midwestern and South Asian ecology, architecture, people, and customs, as well as the creative techniques/ media used in these regions, and history. The images and symbols depicted in the works are taken from moments of happiness, peace, gratitude, and acknowledgement of the complexity, mystery, and magic of existence. Parita utilizes the creative process to explore these experiences from her life, free from anxiety and social pressure, to bring forth her own feelings and perspectives. Parita invites the viewer to create their own emotional narratives with her works.
Living and working in Chicago, Parita creates works in various media including intaglio printmaking, papermaking, bookmaking, drawing, and photography.
Growing up in a bilingual multicultural household and moving back and forth between Chicago and Osaka has been the most formative factor in how Shane Kengo Kennedy approaches artistic creation. Witnessing the numerous idiosyncrasies in both cultures which often were contradictory encouraged him to look at art as a universal language and form of expression.
Language has often been said to be the lifeblood of a civilization, revealing an amalgam of truths, good and bad, moral and immoral, subjective and objective. Kennedy’s work focuses on exploring how society is shaped by the infinitely complex world of language, and what hidden truths can be made visible. He likes to think of his finished work as assemblage art regardless of the medium due to the massive number of inspirations, knowledge, and chance that is assembled into a single cohesive piece. His current works can be seen as a direct challenge to how we define progress and value, using imagery, text, and installation to engage the viewer in an area of discourse which is not openly discussed in everyday life, but exists nonetheless. Due to the interactive nature of language, his works themselves are also intended to be strongly engaging and interactive, challenging the viewer to engage with their preconceptions, realizations, and instincts.
I AM A HUMAN will be on display in the Evanston Art Center’s Second Floor Gallery + Atrium from June 4 – July 10, 2022. The exhibition is free and open to the public. This project is partially funded by the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, and EAC’s general membership.
Evanston Art Center, a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) organization, is dedicated to fostering the appreciation and expression of the arts among diverse audiences. The Art Center offers extensive and innovative instruction in broad areas of artistic endeavor through classes, exhibitions, interactive arts activities, and community outreach initiatives.
Evanston Art Center is located at 1717 Central Street, Evanston, IL. Evanston Art Center Gallery Hours: Monday– Friday, 9am–6pm; Saturday and Sunday, 9am–4pm. First and second floor gallery spaces are accessible. Limited free parking is available. Masks are optional but strongly recommended for students, visitors, and staff.
For more information, please visit us online at www.evanstonartcenter.org or Audrey Avril, Manager of Exhibitions, at 847.475.5300 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the Evanston Art Center on Facebook: www.facebook.com/EvanstonArtCenter/, follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/#!/evartcenter, or on Instagram: @EvanstonArtCenter.
EXHIBITION DATES: June 4 – July 10, 2022
GALLERY HOURS: Monday–Friday, 9am–6pm; Saturday and Sunday, 9am–4pm