Mar 31st 2023

Me Importas Tú

@ The Martin

2500 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

Opening Friday, March 31st, from 6PM - 9PM

On view through Friday, April 28th

Join us on March 31st from 6-9pm to celebrate the opening of ME IMPORTAS TÚ at The Martin!


Me Importas Tú (2022) is a collection of works that focus on what it means to be tender, vulnerable, queer, and in community. The title of this exhibition is derived from a Spanish bolero, a romantic genre of Latin music, and directly translates to “You matter to me”. The bolero’s classic gentle rhythm and harmony, as well as the yearning in these artists’ voices is descriptive of the queer experience. The works in this show are art as an act of holding ourselves and each other–celebrating each other as if dancing to a bolero–they are the result of practicing radical vulnerability. This gesture of making deeply personal, autobiographical works is an empowering way for us as artists to forge what the future of our communities look like, and allows us to discover what it means to honor and celebrate ourselves as we are. Me Importas Tú is meant to shed light on a variety of experiences and how they coalesce in Chicago—coming from Mexico, Boston, Puerto Rico, Ohio, and Liberia.

If Sontag says that, “Pure camp is naive,” then let us get lost in that innocence. Our modes of making are maximalist because they exist within in a language of queer aesthetics. The colors we use are loud, the context explicit, and the mediums are visceral. The work is confrontational at times simply because our style demands it, we are celebrating a joy for what is exaggerated, an emphasis on abundance. Our work together is a testament to how our stories have existed in the past and will continue to be told in the future.

Coming from a place where our identities are weaponized and used against us, this show is a unique example of what it means to show queer joy and community through art media. Our goal is to celebrate and empower, and break away from the lens of trauma. The power in this work is about realizing ourselves repeatedly through the way that we come together.


The Martin is an artist-first, full service gallery and creative space, since 2018. Founded & Curated by Whitney LaMora, the gallery aims to be a safe, creative haven for all levels of artists and collectors.

RSVP for free! There will be a card-only bar available.

ADA: The Martin has one step up into the gallery, but a non-stepped entrance can be accessed via Split-Rail, the restaurant we are attached to. The Martin has an ADA accessible restroom. If you have any access questions or concerns, please reach out.

Want to dine in Split-Rail before or after the show? We recommend making a reservation.

Plan to stay and go downstairs to Dorothy after the show (21+)!



Isabella Mellado is a painter native to San Juan, Puerto Rico. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Rhode Island School of Design in 2018 and is currently completing her Masters in Fine Arts at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, set to graduate in 2023. Mellado is best known for her illusionistic, magical realist paintings, which take on themes regarding latinidad and queer identity. She works in a wide range of media including painting, installation, performance, costume design, animation, digital collage and sculpture. Her work has been featured at Kavi Gupta Gallery in Chicago, IL; Pulse Contemporary Art Fair in Miami, FL; MoMa PS1 in New York, NY; MECA Art Fair in San Juan, PR; Walter Otero Contemporary Art in San Juan, PR; Castle of Sant’Eusanio Forconese in Castelvecchio, IT; Palazzetto Cenci in Rome, IT; and others. Mellado has also completed residency at Ox-Bow in Sagatuck, MI, Dacia Gallery in New York, NY, the Studios at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA and the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, VT. Instagram: @isabella.mellado

Mack Baker is a transdisciplinary artist in the Ceramics MFA program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, set to graduate in 2023. Originally from New England, Baker has a background in craft studio pottery and film photography. They have developed an installation based practice which spans across drawing, textiles, ceramics, and photography. Baker likes making work about the tender folds and imperfections of the body and how these repeating forms connect us. Conceptually, their work is about the queer experience, in all of its vibrancy and communal care. Instagram: @__mackbaker

Mariposa Martinez is an interdisciplinary artist born in San Diego and raised in Tijuana BC, Mexico, now based in Chicago. While they make art in many mediums, including ceramics, garments, and performance, they are always working with the body. Specifically, their own body—which is a meeting point of many intersections, stemming from their cultural heritage, a borderland and also their non-binary, trans identity. Martinez’ work is often playful, a sweet gift of love for us, a party! Never not rara, always in the between, crossing and cross dressing. Their ceramics pieces are inspired by Mexican folkloric making, borrowing their aesthetic motifs and forms, but with queer subjects and figures. Object-making is very personal for them and often revolves around their own body and life history. Martinez shares their own gender travel as an epic of death and transformation! Instagram: @_mariputx

Kwame’ Gomez (b.1999 Akron, OH, USA) is a Chicago based interdisciplinary painter, multimedia visual artist and writer. In 2021 they received their Bachelors of Fine arts from the Myers School of Art located in Akron, OH. Currently, they are completing their Masters of Fine Arts at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, set to graduate in 2023. In their work they explore themes of personal ritual, ceremony and transcendentalism through sentimental experiences of the temporal and mundane.Through the language of collage, mixed media and found materials, the act of reimagination through form and material fundamentally grounded in the basis of their multimedia works mirrors the longstanding diasporic tradition of making due. In their collection of works on canvas, panel and paper shape-based mechanisms of abstraction unite with rhythmic expressions of dreamscape in the pursuit of highlighting the sacred connections between Ancestral muscle memories of reinvention, Blackness, and the figure as a pictorial vessel for ceremonial usage. In these sentimental domains, spaces are created where Black people are free to partake in rituals of rest, autonomy, affirmation and processing. Their work has been featured and exhibited at New Image Art Gallery in West Hollywood, California; SoLA Contemporary in Los Angeles, CA, Stony Island Arts Bank, Anthony Gallery Chicago, IL and others.Instagram: @kwame.azuregomez

Grace Tenneh Kromah (b. 1997 Philadelphia, PA, USA) is a second-generation Liberian-American visual artist based in Chicago, IL. She employs digital image-making, and film photography supplemented by darkroom alternative processes, screen printing, and writing in her work. In 2020 she obtained her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with an emphasis in photography from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). She has been a part of publications such as The Liberian Observer and Anthology of Literary and Visual Arts: The Complete Collection. Kromah was also a part of many group shows during her time ther , they are as follows: School of the Art Institute of Chicago Senior Expo, Virtual Exhibition, and the SAIC BFA Show in 2020. Grace is a former Filter Photo fellow and the current Community Engagement Fellow at the Museum of Contemporary Photography (MOCP). She explores themes such as family and historical trauma, memories, immigration, Liberian culture, the African diaspora, and what it means to be a Black woman in America. Her goal is to narrate her past life experiences, and illustrate recurring memories through analog portraits and self-portraits. Instagram: @grace_tenneh

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