Exhibit & Performance Archive
Awakenings has been home to over 80 visual art exhibits, musical, dance and theatrical performances from our founding in 2010 to 2022. This archive provides a look back at our visual and performance survivor centered art programs from Spring 2019 to Fall 2022. Throughout this time, we explored with survivors how healing from trauma can be present in upheaval, reclamation, growth, home, advocacy, community storytelling and closure. Read exhibit & event booklets, view the virtual tour, and look through photos to learn more about these impactful moments in Awakenings’ history.
A Dozen Creations: Celebrating Survivor Artists
September – October 2022
Awakenings turned 12! We celebrated a dozen years of healing through art and honoring survivors of sexual violence, advocates and allies. This celebration combined movement, literary and visual art into one night with over a dozen visual, moment, theater, literary and musical artists that have collaborated with Awakenings in the past. This event featured: Miguel Barros, Phil Goldstein, Jackie Valdez, Veronica R., Anneasha Hogan, Raeleen Kao, Amanda Mitchell, Connective Theater Company, Kaleigh Michell Mattson, Bianca Thompson, Leah Zeiger, Amanda Boike and Anna Rodimtseva.
Brought to Light: A Gathering of Voices
May – August 2022
Awakenings’ presented an exhibition featuring artists Annalise Castro and Merudjina. Both artists gathered narratives from individual and communal voices to create their pieces. Merudjina wove stories by connecting the body and inner-self to other survivors in their paintings and immersive sound scape. Annalise’s multimedia painting series depicted the stories of anonymous survivors from Awakenings’ community. Viewers were invited to add their own voice on the interactive “feedback wall” in reflection and response to seeing the artwork.
Awakenings invited three local Chicago artists to create artwork that centers healing over a two-week residency period in our gallery space. Artists Gillian Marwood, Leah Huskey, and Raeleen Kao presented on the work created in the residency at a Cohort Showcase, where they shared the visual and conceptual processes behind their work. The artists created work including sculpture, collage and installation exploring themes such as home, memory and survivor community support.
Click the Artwork to learn more
February – April 2022
Homegrown was an exhibit where Awakenings’ community selected artworks from the Permanent Collection for exhibition online and in our Ravenswood gallery. This exhibit explored how survivors cope with different home environments. Home can be a space of refuge and nourishment. However, as some of the survivors show in these artworks, home can also be a place of violence and a challenging place for safety to regrow. When survivors choose their home and how that environment looks and feels, home becomes a place for growth, a place of transformation with chosen family, traditions, and memory.
June – December 2021
In partnership with KAN WIN, Embodying Justice showcased the power of survivors’ storytelling through art to instigate social and political change. Awakenings sought to promote awareness of the ongoing activism of survivors of Japanese military sexual slavery, who were euphemistically called “comfort women,” before and during WWII. Through art, we sought to spark discussion about connections to contemporary sexual violence in relation to state violence. Inspired by the women using art as a living testimony, we envision creating a local movement in solidarity with global activism.
February – May 2021
Return was a virtual exhibition that welcomed four beloved Awakenings artists back into our gallery for a group installation. Anneasha Hogan, Veronica Ravichandran, Isabella Scott, & Alex Brightbill came back to the space to build upon their past work and weave a new story. Together these artists showed us that, just as there is no single story that depicts the experience of all survivors, all survivors contain multitudes of stories.
October 2020 – January 2021
Bloom was a virtual multi-medium exhibition that focused on the themes of sex ed, consent, and the impact of trauma on sexuality. Through ceramic sculpture, painting, and fiber art, five artists dive into what it means to be a survivor and how one interacts with sexuality and the world at large.
Once It All Ends
Awakenings joined Leah Zeiger, Anna Rodimsteva, and Amanda Boike for an evening of process over product and questions over answers. Through her residency at Volta Performing Arts, Leah has asked the question “how do survivors move?” and worked with dancers to create her first ever evening-length work. Performed in Awakenings’ gallery space, the piece was an immersive experience for the audience and performers alike, and reflects the many months of question-and-question process the dancers have developed
Gallery of Sounds
This program was a virtual offering to our community. It was a celebration of sonic performances by survivors filmed in an intimate setting that viewers could engage with and revisit at home on our YouTube channel. Featuring original songs from Bianca Thompson and Kaleigh Michelle. These videos have remained on our channel ever since.
January – May 2020
A Stirring, explored the internal landscape of a survivor – visiting the spaces where anger, pain, myth, truth, joy, and renewal coexist. Through photography, paint, film, and mixed media, A Stirring took visitors on a journey through each of the emotions that stir after experiencing trauma. By breaking their silence through visual expression, the artists show us how the internal landscape of survivors is constantly shifting. In sharing, something begins to move. Something is unearthed. Something begins to heal.
October 2019 – January 2020
Reclaim began when we hosted a workshop where attendees transformed undergarments and other personal items of clothing into paper. Witnessing the transition from private objects to bold, artistic expression set the foundation for our theme of reclamation. For the artists in this exhibition, to reclaim is to heal. Many of the pieces now bear little resemblance to their original form. Underwear has become paper, has become text. Sappy romance novels have been destroyed until they uncover hidden narratives. From shredding fabric to erasing text, the destruction of the original form is liberating.
Me Too Monologues
Nine artists shared their experiences as survivors of sexual violence, intimate partner violence, and gender-based discrimination in Connective Theatre Company’s Me Too Monologues. The monologues and group pieces were written by the cast through a series of writing workshops conducted in partnership with Awakenings and performed in our gallery space. These pieces were brought together to create a performance of healing, empowerment, and empathy, and to explore narratives that might otherwise be silenced.
June – September 2019
[Upheaval] wove together striking artwork from four artists to show how the violence of sexual assault throws a person into turbulence, into violent change, and how their deepest internal layers become warped. The beauty and grit, the warm mixed with cold, and the soft materials mixed with sharp objects in each artist’s work shrouded the viewer in the swirling experience of surviving sexual violence and the upheaval it causes.
This exhibit was born from a collaboration with Healing to Action, a grassroots organization whose mission is to build a worker-led movement to end gender-based violence. In the fall of 2018, Healing to Action convened 17 Latinx community leaders from across Chicago to build a collective political analysis of the root causes of gender-based violence, share stories of survival and resilience, and create community-based solutions to address gender-based violence in their communities. This group exhibit features seven of these leaders who explored ofrendas as an artistic expression of hope, home, and their personal truths that are often silenced across generations, cultures, and gender lines. Awakenings welcomed five additional artists into this exhibition: Fela M’tima Dunfee, Chloe Allred, Alex Brightbill, Sola, and Anneasha Hogan. Through portrait series in painting, line drawing, and collage, these four artists fueled the dialogue of calling out the systematic oppression of cultures and gender through sexual violence and centering their own healing and that of others.