Our second exhibition of projects made with youth from Blackstone Bicycle Works features drawings, zines, repurposed banners, “helmets of the future,” and an exploded cardboard bike shop installation. This work was made through weekly art workshops with local, self-taught teaching artist Tita Thomas (Assata’s Daughters, For The People Artist Collective) with support from South Side In Focus.
Included in the show is collaborative work made with guest artists: bike-printed backdrops made with Faheem Majeed, panoramic photos taken from bicycles with New York artist duo LoVid, photographs by David Johnson of BBW life, and work made in exchange with Dorian Sylvain and her students at the Hyde Park Art Center.
Public opening reception Wednesday, May 23rd, 5-8PM
Organized by Matthew Searle, Assistant Director of Experimental Station
Related reading: South Side Weekly photo-essay of this show's opening reception, South Side Weekly article about BBW’s Friday Art Workshop, article in Bittersweet Monthly featuring David Johnson's photographs.
Blackstone Bicycle Works is a youth education program of the Experimental Station. It’s a full-service bike shop dedicated to promoting ecological practices and empowering youth—teaching mechanical skills, job skills, and business literacy to youth ages 8-18.
Tita Thomas is a community-taught visual artist and cultural organizer from the Southside of Chicago. After receiving her BA in Cultural Anthropology & International Studies from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Tita began using art as a tool for self-healing and as a form of cultural resistance and community liberation. Thus her creative work reflects the deep commitment she has to reimagining and transforming the world around her. Tita is the co-founder of Assata’s Daughters and currently organizes alongside other movement artists as a core member of For The People Artists Collective. Tita is also the Lead Teaching Artist at the Experimental Station, where she uses art as a practical tool to respond to the needs of the young people of the community bicycle shop, Blackstone Bicycle Works. In her future work, Tita looks forward to using interdisciplinary forms of art as a continuing form of healing and resistance to navigate building an international community across rural indigenous cultures and the African Diaspora.
South Side in Focus is a non-profit and student group who believes in the impact of collective narratives and work to harness the power of inter- and intra-community dialogue by collaborating with community organizations.
Faheem Majeed is a builder—literally and metaphorically. A resident of the South Shore neighborhood in Chicago, Majeed often looks to the material makeup of his neighborhood and surrounding areas as an entry point into larger questions around civic-mindedness, community activism, and institutional racism. As part of his studio practice, the artist transforms materials such as particle board, scrap metal and wood, and discarded signs and billboard remnants, breathing new life into these often overlooked and devalued materials. His broader engagement with the arts also involves arts administration, curation, and community facilitation, all which feed into his larger practice.
LoVid's interdisciplinary works explore the often invisible or intangible aspects of contemporary society, such as communication systems and biological signals. They are particularly interested in the ways technology seeps into the evolution of human culture. Their practice includes performances, participatory public art, handmade technologies, textiles, prints, App-art, experimental video, and immersive installations. We focus on the juxtaposition of media with physical objects, geographic spaces, and the human touch.
Dorian Sylvain is a painter, an interpreter of color; exploring color as it influences her feelings, enhances texture and pattern and how it can be used to exploit imagery. Ms. Sylvain’s painting has crossed many disciplines; studio painting, scenic design, mural painting, decorative arts, education, curation and community planning. For the past three decades she has been committed to the creation of public art projects that expose children and communities to art making, providing a group experience that elevates the neighborhoods aesthetic understanding. Recently awarded “Arts & Culture: Connecting Communities to the Arts” (2013) from the University of Chicago and the South East Commission, recognizing her outstanding work and committed service.
David Johnson is an internationally published editorial photographer based in Chicago, Illinois. While pursuing a theological studies degree and training to become a national level sprinter, David's work as a volunteer youth mentor brought him on several trips overseas where he began to grow as a photographer. As opportunities to share his images increased, he soon discovered photography's potential to fulfill a lifelong desire to understand people and their stories. David's work has brought him around the globe traveling throughout East Africa, Central America, Asia, India, and Eastern Europe. His images are prominently featured in the award-winning global re-branding for Motorola Solutions, and have appeared in Times Square, Fitness Magazine, Michigan Avenue Magazine, and many other national and international forums. He has done extensive work with several non-profit and international aide organizations helping to raise funds for under-resourced communities in the developing world. David connected with Blackstone in 2014 and has now worked with Blackstone for the last three years to spread the message and story of the shop throughout the Chicago and the nation.