Local artists envision race and fairness in Evanston’s storefront
The latest exhibit from the Noyes Cultural Arts Center, “What is Racial Justice?” Seeks to spark conversations about race, power and fairness.
More than 20 artists from Evanston and the greater Chicago area contributed to the exhibit, curated by Fran Joy, Evanston Made member and former Evanston Arts Council member.
One of Joy’s pieces for the exhibition, “Spirit of Justice,” depicts a black woman with angel wings. Engraved behind the scenes are Joy’s conceptions of racial justice, such as ending gerrymandering, redlining, and unjust incarceration.
“Art transcends borders and brings people together,” Joy said. “You don’t have to go back 50 years to find racial injustice. “
Another of the paintings, “Man in the Mirror” by Sarah Kaiser-Amaral, depicts a white policeman looking at himself in the mirror and developing a consciousness, according to the painter.
Claudia Marter, a junior at Evanston Township High School, said social justice issues became more important to her as she grew as an artist. Marter added that more unity is needed to address social justice issues. Divided, she said, nothing will change.
For the exhibition, Marter created an oil painting by Simone Biles, which she said represented the gymnast’s strength and resilience. Marter pointed out the racial injustice Biles faces, particularly the fact that the judges at the International Gymnastics Federation lowered the level of difficulty of movements in which Biles excelled to level the playing field for gymnasts competing against. she.
Biles is the only woman to attempt the Yurchenko double pike due to its difficulty. But Marter said the judges lessened the difficulty of the decision to unfairly restrain Biles.
“As soon as a black woman steps in and excels in an area that most white men had passed, she changes the whole point system to favor everyone,” Marter said. “Racial justice means fairness and equality.”
Joy has stated that racism persists and she addresses it in her art. The last 10 years of his artistic practice have focused on issues of social justice. Two of his paintings from this period are presented in the exhibition. One, “Value My Life,” represents all of the children of color who have lost their lives to gun violence.
When Kaiser-Amaral feels that “the world is on fire,” she often turns to painting as a means of treatment.
“Art fulfills many roles in society,” she said. “In really turbulent times, we have to use our art platform as a voice and try to raise awareness, try to break this bubble.”
In his painting of Biles, Marter expresses the struggles of the star athlete. Another title she envisioned for the play, “Eloquent Silence,” reflects how peaceful Biles is and can exude such a strong presence without saying anything, the artist said.
For Marter, Biles represents strength and growth. Marter said she was impressed with Biles’ confidence and willingness to succeed despite racial and gender discrimination, as well as mental health issues.
“(Art) should play a big role (in promoting racial justice). Art will eventually bring us together, ”said Marter. “Art is the truest expression. It can be something that anyone can relate to because of their personal nature. “
Kaiser-Amaral and Joy paint images of children who have lost their lives due to gun violence for Faces Not Forgotten. The organization creates quilts consisting of eight of these portraits, depicting the eight children who die every day from gun violence in the United States.
The exhibition opening on Oct. 15 brought together artists and community members, Joy said.
“I wanted people to get in touch with their spirituality. Everyone has come together to examine and explore this concept of racial justice, ”Joy said. “You could see in the room that they had been moved. That was it for me.
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