Envisioning Justice Exhibit Highlighted in Artsy and Chicago Media

Quilt squares created by mothers and children of St. Anthony Mother's Healing Together as a tribute to their deceased children.They adorn tent walls of a canopy that Sonja Henderson created. Image courtesy of "Chicago Tribune"
Quilt squares created by mothers and children of St. Anthony Mother's Healing Together as a tribute to their deceased children.They adorn tent walls of a canopy that Sonja Henderson created. Image courtesy of "Chicago Tribune"

SAIC's Sullivan Galleries current exhibition, Envisioning Justice, has been featured in multiple media outlets. Firstly, Chicago magazine included the exhibit on its list of "Best Things to Do in Chicago in August." The exhibit features the work of seven artists who spent seven months in an assigned Chicago neighborhood studying the effects of mass incarceration on those communities, and then created artworks in response reports Chicago magazine. 

The exhibit is part of a greater Envisioning Justice initiative that encourages Chicagoans to reimagine the criminal justice system. "This is not just art for art’s sake, this is really an exhibition that’s helping to develop empathy and humanize a set of experiences that often can be really masked by policy and research,” Gabrielle Lyon, executive director of Illinois Humanities, said to the Chicago Sun-Times.

The commissioned artists include SAIC community members Adela Goldbard (MFA 2017); Sonja Henderson (BFA 1992); Associate Professor Kirsten Leenaars (Contemporary Practices); Associate Professor Nicole Marroquin (Art Education); Assistant Professor Maria Gaspar (Contemporary Practices); Assistant Professor Sarah Ross (Art Education); and Project Fielding cofounders Assistant Professor Sara Black (Sculpture) and Amber Ginsburg (MFA 2009), and Lia Rousset (MFA 2009). The Chicago Tribune reports on the individual projects, including Henderson's project, a 10-by-10-foot quilt titled Harbor for Mending Hearts. Mothers in bereavement support groups created “tributes” to their late children inspired by memory and restorative healing practices. The quilt squares became the walls of a canopy tent by Henderson featured in the exhibit. “The tent structure has to do with stitching, and every stitch that we make is like a healing stitch, in the same way as if we stitched up a scar," said the artist to the Tribune.

ABC 7 Chicago's Newsviews also featured the exhibition with Jane Beachy, artistic project director of Envisioning Justice and Illinois Humanities program manager of art; Alexandria Eregbu, curator of Envisioning Justice; and Dorothy Burge, a commissioned artist for Envisioning Justice providing insight into the exhibition. The exhibit was also covered by the Chicago Defender, The Philadelphia Tribune, and WBEZ Chicago. Artsy also featured the exhibit, higlighting the work of six of its artists, including Gaspar who says, “I envision a world where we gather together and use our collective power to dismantle incarceration."  Envisioning Justice runs through October 12 at the Sullivan Galleries.