Commons Artist Project: blkHaUS studios

Radical Futures


Curators: Juarez Hawkins with TRACE, Teens Re-Imagining Art, Community & Environment
Conversation Lead: Paola Aguirre, artist and founder of Borderless Studio

About this mini-exhibition

What is “radical”? Participants in this conversation explored how radicalism encompasses the need for inclusion and connection—often to something greater than the individual—as well as a desire to reveal long-hidden truths. They examined the role of the radical as both revolutionary and visionary, an artist creating light out of darkness. Depictions of young people, especially youth of color, are often negative. These portrayals obscure the truth about their lives: keen intelligence, awareness, and a need to be seen in a more positive light. Radical Futures shares the stories of Chicago youth who are both revolutionary and visionary, actively working to make a meaningful impact on their communities.

The objects on display are signifiers of memory. Some invoke narratives of elders and ancestors, others speak to the wonder of creativity. Collectively, they remind us of our shared humanity.

—Juarez Hawkins with TRACE, Teens Re-Imagining Art, Community & Environment

About this page

Below are the collectors' words—unedited—about their objects.

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Person Name: Jane Andrews Object Name: Gold coin Materials: Gold Dimensions: 1 × 1 × 1in. Provenance: My mother actually found the coin as she was walking down the street

Jane Andrews, Park Manor
Gold coin

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Person Name: Ivan Salazar Object Name: Blue pen by Pentel Materials: Steel Dimensions: 6 × 6 × 0.5in. Provenance: I actually borrowed it from my brother but never gave it back

Ivan Salazar, Chatham
Blue pen by Pentel

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Person Name: Marcus Davis Object Name: Fork bracelet with jade, 2014 Materials: Aluminum fork, jade stone Dimensions: 6 × 8 × 1in. Provenance: Purchased from an artist at African Fest in Washington Park

Marcus Davis, East Garfield Park
Fork bracelet with jade, 2014

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Person Name: Aaliyah Sargent Object Name: Grandmother’s key Materials: Brass Dimensions: 2 × 2 × 1in. Provenance: I got this object from my grandmother. It was my great grandmother’s

Aaliyah Sargent, Washington Heights
Grandmother’s key

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Person Name: Jon Veal Object Name: Sip Maker: Theaster Gates Studio Materials: Clay Dimensions: 2 × 2 × 3in. Provenance: I got this object on the South Side at the Theaster Gates studio

Jon Veal, Humboldt Park
Sip by Theaster Gates Studio, 2015

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Person Name: Jordan Campbell Object Name: Painter’s palette Materials: Wood and acrylic paint Dimensions: 0.5 × 22 × 8in. Provenance: Michael’s art store

Jordan Campbell, Kenwood
Painter’s palette

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Person Name: Grace Lul Object Name: Cotton headwrap Materials: Steel Dimensions: 24 × 24 × 12in. Provenance: Purchased from a company called Wrap Life

Grace Lul, Logan Square
Cotton headwrap

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Person Name: Ari Antos (MCA TCA member) Object Name: Crusty bug collection Materials: Cicadas and bees Dimensions: 0.5 × 1.75 × 0.33in

Ari Antos (MCA TCA member), Avondale
Crusty bug collection

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Person Name: Vanessa Stokes Object Name: Wedding Day Maker: Chester Sheard Materials: Silver gelatin Dimensions: 8 × 0 × 10in. Provenance: In a box of my father’s images

Vanessa Stokes, Austin
Wedding Day by Chester Sheard, 1967

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Person Name: Okicize Beauvais Object Name: Special Maker: My two friends Materials: Steel Dimensions: 0.5 × 1.5 × 1.5in. Provenance: I bought the box but the teeth are from two of my friends

Okicize Beauvais (MCA TCA Member), Humboldt Park
Special by my two friends, 2008