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Voices from the Community Panel Discussion

Jun 28, 2019, 6:30pm


Voices from the Community is a panel discussion that actively engages audiences with the content in About Face, providing perspectives other than those of the curator or institution. This dialogue will contribute to discourse surrounding queer art, addressing key themes that arise within the exhibition.

Participants include: Brendan Fernandes, artist and current Whitney Biennial participant; Sarita Hernández, arts educator and co-founder of Marimacha Monarca Press; artist and social worker Jessie Mott; Lisa Stone, Curator of the Roger Brown Study Collection; and Executive Director of Brave Space Alliance, LaSaia Wade.

This panel is moderated by Wrightwood 659 Exhibitions Manager, Lauren Leving.

About the Participants

Brendan Fernandes (b. 1979, Nairobi, Kenya) is an internationally recognized Canadian artist working at the intersection of dance and visual arts. Currently based out of Chicago, Brendan’s projects address issues of race, queer culture, migration, protest and other forms of collective movement. Always looking to create new spaces and new forms of agency, Brendan’s projects take on hybrid forms: part Ballet, part queer dance hall, part political protest…always rooted in collaboration and fostering solidarity. Brendan is a graduate of the Whitney Independent Study Program (2007) and a recipient of a Robert Rauschenberg Fellowship (2014). In 2010, he was shortlisted for the Sobey Art Award, and is currently the recipient of a 2017 Canada Council New Chapters grant. His projects have shown at the 2019 Whitney Biennial (New York); the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York); the Museum of Modern Art (New York); The Getty Museum (Los Angeles); the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa); MAC (Montreal); among a great many others. He is currently artist-in-residency and faculty at Northwestern University and represented by Monique Meloche Gallery in Chicago. Upcoming projects in 2019 include performances and solo presentations at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art (Washington); the Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago); and the Noguchi Museum (New York).

Sarita Hernández is an arts educator, oral hxstorian, and print/zinemaker from Califas based in Chicago. Sarita is co-founder of marimacha monarca press, a queer and trans* people of color creative familia based in Chicago’s South Side since 2017, and co-initiated Fwd: Museums, an interdisciplinary journal produced by UIC Museum and Exhibitions Studies graduate students since 2015. Sarita has been a teaching artist in arts and cultural centers such as the UIC Latino Cultural Center and the National Museum of Mexican Art. She is interested in artistic interventions with the historical archive and imagining alternative forms of social documentation, preservation, and activation of everyday hxstories, violence, survivals, and resistances. They make queer vegan pies, rasquache prints, and sad boi zines.

Jessie Mott is a Chicago-based visual artist and social worker.  Her art practice encompasses a variety of media that includes painting, drawing, sculptural objects, and writing, although she is best known for her watercolors of hybrid animal creatures and collaborative animations with the artist and writer Steve Reinke. The animations have been screened widely at national and international venues, including the International Film Festival Rotterdam, VIDEOEX International Experimental Film & Video Festival in Zürich, the International Short Film Festival in Oberhausen, Germany, and the 2014 Whitney Biennial. She has participated in numerous group and solo shows including Devening Projects + Editions and the Hyde Park Art Center. Jessie currently works as a Program Officer for social justice grant making with The Reva and David Logan Foundation with a focus on affordable housing and the promotion of education and health equity.  For nearly a decade she worked at Test Positive Aware Network (TPAN), providing prevention, wraparound support, and advocacy for people living with and affected by HIV and related health conditions. Jessie received a Master’s in Social Work from Loyola University Chicago, a Master’s of Fine Arts in the Department of Art Theory & Practice from Northwestern University, and a B.S. in Studio Art and Psychology from New York University.

Lisa Stone is curator of the Roger Brown Study Collection and senior lecturer in the Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism, both at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she earned a Master of Science in Historic Preservation. Her research, teaching, writing, and curating concern the preservation and interpretation of artist-built environments and sites of conscience, the relationship of objects to creative practice, and the realms of non-mainstream art, particularly artists considered to be marginalized by mainframe standards–artists of color, women, economically disadvantaged people, farmers and residents of rural areas, urban dwellers, and first and second generation immigrants. She is co-curator, with Kenneth C. Burkhart, of Chicago Calling: Art Against The Flow, featuring 10 nonmainframe Chicago artists; the show is part of the Terra Foundation for American Art’s Art Design Chicago initiative. The exhibition was a project of and was on view at Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art (June 29, 2018 – Feb. 10, 2019) and is currently on view at Halle St. Pierre (Paris); it will travel to Kaufbeuren (Germany), Lausanne, and Amsterdam. Her studio is a garden/ruin in Spring Lake, Wisconsin.

LaSaia Wade, an open Afro-Puerto Rican indigenous Trans Woman, is founder of Tennessee Trans Journey Project, and member of Chicago Trans Gender Nonconforming Collective and the Trans Liberation Collective, and Executive Director of Brave Space Alliance.

Recently, she was honored at the Chicago LGBTQA Black History Recognitions ceremony and is the first Trans woman in Illinois History to be honored in Women’s History month for her work in, but not limited to, community organizing. LaSaia’s role in organizing ranges between and beyond as a central organizer for the Trans Liberation Protest Chicago, the largest march for Trans rights in Midwestern history and being the Midwest Mother for the House of Ferré.

LaSaia graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Business Management from Murfreesboro Tennessee State University. She has 10+ years of experience in organizing and advocacy work with Black, indigenous, Trans and gender nonconforming people around the world. She is the business owner of Mystical Bee Hive and facilitates trainings across the U.S.

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