Left: Chris Pappan, Spirit of Kitihawa, 2020. Pencil, graphite, ledger paper, inkjet, (Private Collection). Right: Tonika Lewis Johnson, 6823 South Aberdeen, 2022. Photograph and Original Landmarker.
This exhibition, co-curated by Dr. Lisa Yun Lee and Dr. Lucy Mensa, uses art, archives, and public dialogue to explore and connect the histories of displacement of Indigenous people and African American families on the land where the National Public Housing Museum is located.
The project includes a temporary mural outside the museum by artist Andrea Carlson (Ojibwe) that links Indigenous history with the painful history of redlining and African American displacement in public housing, an exhibition in the museum’s 800-square-foot gallery, robust public programming, and the development of a resource guide.
Andrea Carlson describes her vision, “The removal and displacement of Black and Indigenous people are related. My work for the National Public Housing Museum will link the harm of redlining experienced by African Americans to the 1821 Treaty of Chicago, the 1816 Treaty of St Louis, and the 1795 Treaty of Greenville. The mural, written in Potawatomi and English, will translate abstract text of treaties into the physical realm, and serve as a gesture to the possibility of healing through truth-telling.”
A centerpiece of the project is an engagement wall that shares new research, invites feedback and questions from visitors, and serves as a process for developing the museum’s land acknowledgment statement, to be revealed at the closing of the exhibition. Designed by 7GAE, an Indigenous exhibition design team, the wall draws upon leading-edge strategies around the participatory museum to engage multigenerational audiences with interactive formats that accommodate multiple learning styles and different languages.
Co-curator Dr. Lucy Mensah, UIC Assistant Professor, applies her deep expertise in race and visual culture, working closely with the National Public Housing Museum team, its network of public housing residents, and Indigenous artists and activists.
Please note: Exhibition dates are tentative and subject to change.