Artists & Contributors



Adela Goldbard

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Adela Goldbard is an interdisciplinary artist and educator who believes in the potential of art to generate critical thinking and social transformation. Her work questions the politics of memory by suspecting power relations and social constructs behind official history, archeological preservation, patriotism, state-sanctioned celebrations, and mass media. She is especially interested in how destruction can become a ritual, a statement, a metaphor, a way of remembering and a form of disobedience. Goldbard holds an MFA as a Full Merit Fellow in Sculpture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a Bachelor’s degree in Hispanic Language and Literature from the National University of Mexico. She was granted the prestigious Joyce Award in 2019 and is the 2017 SAIC Awardee of the Edes Foundation Prize. From 2015 to 2018 she was a member of the National System of Artistic Creators of Mexico. Goldbard is Assistant Professor at the Rhode Island School of Design. Originally from Mexico City, she lives and works in the United States and Mexico.

Dorothy Burge

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Dorothy Burge is a fabric and multimedia artist and community activist who is inspired by history and current issues of social justice. She is a self-taught quilter who began creating fiber art in the 1990s after the birth of her daughter, Maya. Dorothy is a native and current resident of Chicago, but is descendent from a long line of quilters who hailed from Mississippi. These ancestors created beautiful quilts from recycled clothing. While she showed no interest in this art form as a child, she grew to treasure the quilts that were created by family elders. Her realization that the history and culture of her people were being passed through generations in this art form inspired her to use this medium as a tool to teach history, raise cultural awareness, and inspire action.Dorothy received her Masters of Arts in Urban Planning and Policy and her Bachelors of Arts in Art Design, both from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is a member of Blacks Against Police Torture and Chicago Torture Justice Memorials; both are cultural collectives seeking justice for police torture survivors. Dorothy is also a member of the Women of Color Quilter’s Network, (WCQN), and her quilts were part of several WCQN exhibitions including: And Still We Rise, We Who Believe in Freedom, Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium, Yours for Race and Country: Reflections on the Life of Colonel Charles Young and commemorating His Purple Reign: A Textural Tribute to Prince. Dorothy received a 2017 Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Artist as Activist fellowship and is an Envisioning Justice Commissioned Artist.

Jim Duignan

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Jim Duignan is an artist and professor of Visual Art in the College of Education at DePaul University. He formed Stockyard Institute in 1995 as a civic artist project in the Back of the Yards community of Chicago. Recent publications include Back to the Sandbox: Art and Radical Pedagogy, (Ed.) J. Andel, W. Washington (2019), Poor and Needy; Baggesen / Brackman, Poor Farm Krabbesholm (2018), Building a Gang-Proof Suit: An Artistic & Pedagogical Framework, Chicago Social Practice History Series, (Eds.) M. J. Jacob & K. Zeller, University of Chicago Press (2015), and No Longer Interested, Blade of Grass Foundation (2014). His work has been recognized by the Weitz Family Foundation, Illinois Humanities, Artadia, and the Art Institute of Chicago. Recent exhibitions include Stockyard Institute Retrospective, DePaul Art Museum (2021), Envisioning Justice, Sullivan Galleries (2019), PUBLIC SCHOOL, Hyde Park Art Center (2017), Smart Museum (2017), the Chicago Cultural Center (2016), Reykjavik Art Museum, Iceland (2016), and Interference Archive, Brooklyn, NY (2015)

Kirsten Leenaars

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Kirsten Leenaars is an interdisciplinary video artist based in Chicago. Various forms of performance, theater, and documentary strategies make up the threads that run through her work. She engages with individuals and communities to create participatory video and performance work. Her work oscillates between fiction and documentation, reinterprets personal stories, and reimagines everyday realities through staging and improvisation. Leenaars examines through her work how we relate to others. Leenaars has shown nationally and internationally. Recent projects include The Broadcast (2019), a video project for the Broad Museum in East Lansing that considers truth and distortion in public address and media representations and (Re)Housing the American Dream (2015-ongoing), a multi-year performative documentary project with American-born and refugee youth commissioned by the Haggerty Museum of Art in Milwaukee. Leenaars has received grants and commissions from, amongst others, the Andy Warhol Foundation, The Mondrian Fund, Milwaukee Art Board Production Grant, and Illinois Humanities.

Nicole Marroquin

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Nicole Marroquin is an interdisciplinary artist, teacher, researcher, and public scholar currently researching youth rebellions in Chicago Public Schools between 1967-74. She recently presented projects at the University of Pittsburgh, New School, Newberry Library, Harold Washington Public Library, DePaul Museum of Art, Columbia College, Hull House Museum, Northwestern University, the Museum of Contemporary Art, University of Chicago, University of Illinois, and the Art Institute of Chicago for the symposium “The Wall of Respect and People’s Art Since 1967.” She has published in the Visual Arts Research Journal, Counter Signals, Chicago Social Practice History Series, Organize Your Own: The Politics and Poetics of Self-Determination Movements, Revista Contratiempo and AREA Chicago Magazine, and she participated in the I Bienial Continental de Arte Indigenas Contemporaria at the Museo Nacional De Culturas Populares, Mexico City. She is a Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz Women of Excellence Awardee, 3Arts Awardee and an Envisioning Justice Artist. She teaches at School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC).

Sonja Henderson

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Sonja Henderson received her B.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she concentrated in Drawing and Painting. She received her M.F.A. from the University of California at Berkeley where she concentrated in Sculpture and Installation. At Berkeley, Sonja created life-size earthworks and temporal structures made of clay, earth, twigs, and stone calling attention to original architecture, feminine forms, sacred space, and cultural identity. Sonja’s installations challenge our perception of the world and societal constructs through content, context, materials, and manipulation of scale. In Chicago, Sonja teaches K- college and creates public artwork though collaborations with artists, agencies, and communities to tell their individual and collective stories. Sonja uses “memorial” iconography and considers ideas of sacred space when creating public works of art like, The September 11th “Wall of Remembrance” exhibited at the Chicago History Museum honoring the first year anniversary of the World Trade Center bombing. Sonja collaborated on a Rwandan Girls Exchange that opened an international dialogue addressing HIV/Aids, stigma, and health and wellness. The young women in the exchange created two beautiful sister mosaic murals on a clinic in Kigali, Rwanda and Chicago’s C.O.R.E Center. Sonja also co-created The MLK Living Memorial, bringing to light the Chicago-based Fair Housing Marches and People’s Movement in 1967. Sonja believes creating public art and enriched communal spaces is a powerful conduit to healing and reclaiming one’s collective history and personal story.

Project Fielding

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Project Fielding was founded by Sara Black, Billy Dee, Amber Ginsburg, Miriam Stevens, and Donesha Thompson and has expanded to involve Caroline Robe and Lia Rousset. We consider building to be a gesture of craft, which by nature is slow, requires commitment, repetition and revision, much like social change. Building has been largely gendered, yet the knowledge, skill and wisdom that can be born of carpentry and craft processes are invaluable to all. Our choice to work with girls, women, and non-binary folks of all ages is born of our experience as women and trans builders in both art and trade contexts. There is a persistent misalignment between the confidence in our capacity to develop building skills and complete large-scale projects and the gender pejorative attitudes we encounter when doing so. Our name, Project Fielding, encompasses both the experience of deflecting unwelcome assumptions and a new direction for the field of building.


B'Rael Ali Thunder

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My title B’Rael Ali is an affirmation that I use so that I always remain conscious of my spiritual identity and purpose. My purpose being a creative force sent from the cosmos, a bringer of truth.  I was born on the south side of Chicago and I have lived much of my life in the urban City. I am a graduate of Southern Illinois University of Carbondale achieving a BFA Painting and Drawing. I am also a spoken word artist. My artwork and poetry are infusions of urban life, history, and social commentary. I believe that knowledge of self is the true answer to anyone’s individual struggles because gaining it has improved my life tremendously. My artwork and poetry serves as a form of education, displaying the lessons and philosophies that help me during my struggles in order to help others through their struggles as well. Art is my language, Art is my way of solving the problems of today in order to create a better future.
 Much of my artwork features dancing figures. Dance is the physical cultivation of the Spirit through mental release and rhythmic processes. Dance historically, and contemporary is a large part of African and African American culture being used for ritual purposes, ceremonial, as well as social. My artwork depicts those traditional uses of dance through 2D drawings on paper that are enhance with acrylic paint and pastels. I use the dancing figure as a creative vessel to express African American culture and issues. Through compositions designed from the figurative image of the dancer, I compose narratives that describe the African American experience, largely addressing identity, reconnecting African Americans to their African ancestry. The collaboration of symbols new and old creates the persona of "Afrofuturism" in my work, allowing my art to become ritual.

Tonika Johnson

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Tonika Lewis Johnson is a photographer/visual artist and life-long resident of Chicago’s South Side neighborhood of Englewood. In 2010, she helped co-found Resident Association of Greater Englewood (R.A.G.E), whose mission is to “mobilize people and resources to force positive change in Englewood through solution-based approaches." Within her artistic practice, Tonika often explores urban segregation and documents the nuance and richness of the black community. As a trained photojournalist and teaching artist, she has been engaged in building an artistic legacy that gained citywide recognition in the last two years. She was featured in Chicago Magazine as a 2017 Chicagoan of the Year for her photography of Englewood's everyday beauty, countering its pervasive media coverage of poverty and crime. Her Englewood-based photography projects "From the INside," and "Everyday Rituals," were exhibited at Rootwork Gallery in Pilsen, the Chicago Cultural Center, the Harold Washington Library Center and at Loyola University's Museum of Art (LUMA). Her current ongoing project, Folded Map, visually investigates disparities among Chicago residents while bringing them together to have a conversation, was also exhibited at LUMA last year. She transformed this project into an advocacy and policy-influencing tool that invites audiences to open a dialogue and question how we are all socially impacted by racial and institutional conditions that segregate the city. In 2019, she was named one of Field Foundation’s Leaders for a New Chicago and most recently, she was appointed as a member of the Cultural Advisory Council of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events by the Chicago City Council.

Monica Trinidad

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Monica Trinidad is a queer, Latinx artist and organizer born and raised on the southeast side of Chicago. In 2012, Monica co-founded Brown & Proud Press, a collective of people of color with the intent of sharing personal narratives of struggle through the medium of zines as a catalyst for collective healing and social change. A working group, Brown People for Black Power, also emerged from the group, leading conversations on challenging anti-Blackness within ourselves, our homes, and our Latinx, Asian Pacific Islander, and South Asian communities through workshops and zines. Heavily involved in challenging police violence in Chicago, Monica was one of eight young organizers & activists of color who traveled to Geneva, Switzerland in 2014 to present a report on police violence in Chicago to the United Nations Committee Against Torture. As a delegation representing We Charge Genocide, a grassroots organization in Chicago, they staged a direct action inside the UN, calling attention to the murder of Dominique Franklin, a 23-year-old Black man tased to death by the Chicago Police Department. Because of We Charge Genocide’s delegation and direct action, the UN Committee Against Torture directly mentioned Chicago police violence against youth of color in their official observations, highlighting police violence in Chicago on an international level. In 2016, Monica co-founded For the People Artists Collective (FTP), a radical squad of Black artists and artists of color in Chicago who create work that uplifts and projects struggle, resistance, and survival within and for our marginalized communities. Since 2016, FTP has created three radical coloring books, created artwork for and participated in 5 large-scale campaigns for racial and economic justice in Chicago, and has commissioned artwork and led creative workshops for dozens of Chicago-based, grassroots organizations fighting for justice, abolition, and liberation. In 2017, her and Assata's Daughters co-founder Page May started the Lit Review podcast, a literary podcast for the movement, interviewing community members and organizers about critical books to read in this political moment. Monica actively pushes for spaces where both artists & organizers recognize the necessity of cultural organizing, and creates work to uplift and document struggles in Black & Brown communities in Chicago. Monica has created artwork for dozens of grassroots organizations and efforts in Chicago, and has had work shown at the DuSable Museum, Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, and the National Museum of Mexican Art.

Anna Martine Whitehead

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Anna Martine Whitehead is a transdisciplinary artist interested in the body as material, signal, archive. She's been presented by Velocity Dance Center; Watts Towers Art Center; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts; and the Hemispheric Institute for Performance and Politics.

Rachel Wallis

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I am an activist who uses art in my organizing work, and an artist who engages in issues of racial and social justice. As a primarily self-taught textile artist, my work spans the divide between fine art and craft. I believe that traditional textile techniques, particularly quilting, can provide a fertile platform for creating dialog and understanding around complex ideas and issues. Quilting has a rich history in diverse communities in the US. For generations quilting has created spaces for women to build community, support each other, and organize. I believe that community quilts allow us to tackle overwhelming subjects, like the legacy of violence by the Chicago Police Department, the impact of incarceration on families, or the relationship between the global slave trade and the textile industry. The slow process of stitching occupies our hands and slows our minds. It forces us to travel from the general to the particular. The meditative act of embroidering a name or a place engenders a kind of radical empathy. Working with anywhere from a dozen to hundreds of people, I have created striking textile pieces that serve as a visual record of the issues at hand, while deepening our relationships with each other and strengthening movements for justice.


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Sarah-Ji is a queer Korean mama, organizer, and photographer who has been documenting freedom struggles in Chicago since 2010. She is a member of Love & Protect, a grassroots organization that supports women and gender non-conforming/non-binary people of color who have been criminalized or harmed by state or interpersonal violence. Sarah intentionally focuses her documentation work on everyday people imagining and and building a world rooted in love and justice, a world where we don't need prisons and police. She hopes that these images of resistance and reimagination will plant seeds in others to join in the work of collective liberation.

Luis Venavides

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Jose Luis Benavides (b. 1986 Chicago, IL) is an artist, writer and educator. He has worked as a teaching artist with the National Museum of Mexican Art, Young Chicago Authors, Chicago Arts Partnership in Education and the Chicago Public Library. He has also taught within the Cook County jail system and he is an active project manager with the Illinois Deaths in Custody Project. He has presented about his work at the Art Institute of Chicago’s Block Party (2018); and the Chicago Archives + Artists Festival (2018); American Studies Association conference (2018); and for Mutual Interpretations at the University of Illinois at Chicago (2017). Benavides held his first solo show at Terremoto in Mexico City (2018) and his experimental documentary, Lulu en el Jardín was an Official Selection of Collected Voices: Chicago Ethnography Film Festival (2018). This film, his first feature, was also awarded honorable mentions at LA Underground Film Forum (2018) and Experimental Forum (2018). His video art and archival-based works have shown at The Logan Center for the Arts (2018); The Nightingale (2017); Links Hall (2016); and festivals including 2nd Floor Rear Festival (2016); and S2F2: Scored Silent Film Festival (2013). His video work as luigi have been also featured on VideoVideoZine and the U.K. blog, Gothic Angel Clothing. As a lead organizer he presented Latinx Disambiguations at Threewalls (2018) and programmed Sin Cinta Previa: Latin(a)x and Queer Archive Video Series as part of the Arts Leaders of Color Network at Comfort Station (2018). As a recipient of the Propeller Grant (2017) he furthered his work with the Illinois Deaths in Custody Project programming Mom’s Day Cards Against Prisons (2018) and curating an adjoining exhibition of the Read/Write Library’s collection of prison abolition materials going back to the 1990s He has been granted artist residencies with Mamarat (Paths) in Ramallah, Palestine (2018); The Overlook Place in Chicago (2017); and CAPE in Chicago (2017). Benavides holds an MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago (2017); and a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Latina/o Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2008).

Gabriel Villa

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Gabriel Villa was born and raised in the El Paso, Texas/ Ciudad Juarez border region and currently resides in Chicago, Illinois, where he is an active member of the arts community. He received his MFA from the University of Delaware, a BFA from Corpus Christi State University-Texas A& M. Villa attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, Me. And The New York Academy of Art, New York City, NY. Villa has had numerous national exhibitions and has received numerous awards. Villa’s teaching practices include Visiting Artist at American University in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Visiting Artist at Statesville Prison, Crest Hill IL, with the Prison Neighborhood & Prison Arts Project and The Chicago High School for the Arts (The Mural: History and Painting), Chicago, IL. Villa served from 2005-2011 as Director of Yollocalli Arts Reach, a youth initiative of the National Museum of Mexican Art and also served as Co-Curator for the Chicago Kraft Foods Gallery from 2006-2011 at the National Museum of Mexican Art. Villa is a recent recipient of the Elena Diaz-Verson Amos Eminent Scholar in Latin American Studies at Columbus State University (Columbus, Ga. Fall Semester 2017). Currently Villa, is a Jackman Goldwasser Artist in Resident, Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, IL. 2018-19.