From 1910 to 1970 an estimated six million Black Americans ventured from the southern regions of the US to cities like New York, Detroit and Chicago. They wanted to escape the social and economic deficiencies of a slave system that once ended, was replaced with the deplorable racial caste of Jim Crow.
The exhibition Migrations in Black and White takes its cue in part from that movement and specifically speaks to the lack of visibility South side Chicago-based Black artists have in the northern stretch of the city.
The establishment of the Calao 22 Space art gallery in Bucktown freely crosses that divide. The brainchild of artist, curator and (now) third time gallerist Makeba Kedem-DuBose, the space fits into the algorithm of a community that's referred to as Chicago's “creative epicenter.”
Migrations In Black And White, the gallery's inaugural exhibition – flips the script on the racial and artistic implications of the term “black and white.” Its usage in the show's title is not a reference to race, but a description of the graphic appearance of the works: black and white are the only colors in the pictorial (or structural) plain.
The exhibition features the work of 22 Black artists selected out of 110 total members, uniformly known as Collaborative Mavericks. The name Collaborative Mavericks is the creation of Kedem-DuBose, though both artists and co-founders Kedem-DuBose, and Dana Todd Pope are responsible for the formation of the collective itself. Collaborative Marvericks is the result of a group of visual artists who bonded during an artists painted Beach Umbrella project hosted by Lacuna Artists Lofts and Peroni Beer of Italy in 2013. Most artists in the group maintain a studio practice in communities pretty much under-the-radar of Chicago art denizens.
Surprisingly, Migrations in Black and White is not a show about race. It's an appropriate assumption given the fact that it showcases black artists who live in black communities of Chicago, a city with an ugly racial past. Migrations transcends that by focusing on a broad spectrum of aesthetic and compositional concerns.
Sunday, November 1 at Noon
Calao 22 Space, 2320 N Damen Ave Suite 2F