Homegrown

An Exhibit

Community Curated exhibition of Awakenings Permanent Collection

Awakenings’ community selected artworks from the Permanent Collection for exhibition online and in our Ravenswood gallery. This exhibit explores 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.

Homegrown

Feb 7 – Apr 18, 2022

Gallery tours are by appointment.
General hours are Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm.

Email info @ awakeningsart.org. 4001 N. Ravenswood Ave Suite 204-C Chicago, IL 60618  

Featured Artists

Candace Nicol

Shawna Angel Blue

L. Zastre

Anonymous

Monika Peszek

Sandra Jeanne Thompson

Catherine Chinnock

Gabriel Orion Marie

Judith Dawn

Linda Ness

Miguel Barros

The Curators

Katlin Weed

Gillian Marwood

Stephanie Ledesma

Serena Luciano

Members of 5th Wave Collective

Awakenings Art Committee

Jackie Valdez

Madeline

Angelica

Laura Kinter

Joy Airaudi

Exhibition Artwork

POST TRAUMA BY ANONYMOUS

Curator Statement

Awakenings Art Committee

People mailed in postcards to Awakenings from all over. There is something so special about a personalized piece of mail that holds part of someone’s story. That can contain an ounce of life in the hopes of showing the after, the work done, the life lived post trauma. These postcards are small but potent in the messages that were chosen to be sent.  

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PASSAGE BY JUDITH DAWN

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Curator Statement

Angelica  she/her

Social Justice Practicum Intern Fall 2021- Spring 2022

“Passage is a painting done by Judith Dawn, the cousin of Awakenings founder Jean Cozier, of her sister Jill. This work is meant to depict Jill breaking free from a cocoon of fear and lies as she healed from the trauma of addiction and sexual abuse. Her facial expression is striking. It is not necessarily the excited face that may come to mind when thinking of someone breaking free. It is soft, much like the painting style of this work. Her face is turned away from the viewer, fixed on something outside of our view that is to the side of, and sort of behind her. It is as if she is making peace with her past and moving forward with a quiet determination. She is shown nude, sitting on the ground with her arms extended over her head, grasping at the veil of her cocoon. She uses her weight to pull it open while also using it as an anchor to pull herself up. This shows her power, resiliency, and ownership over her past and present. The veil is transparent, so we can see even the parts of Jill that are still hidden behind it. This choice shows that even though things like the trauma of the past can paint us blue and hold us back, ultimately, you are still you in there- the veil does not define you.”

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SHE RECLAIMED HERSELF & ANGER BY CATHERINE CHINNOCK

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Curator Statement

Jackie Valdez  she/her

Programming Coordinator

I sit  

Behind my screen  

You share your light  

Your dark  

We try to heal  

To remember ourselves  

I look at what you’ve left behind  

Gift to the past  

To bring comfort  

To me  

Now 

Two works  

Paper and anger  

Ridges and bumps 

Hands filled with pulp 

Molded in hope 

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SHADOW TALK BY SHAWNA ANGEL BLUE

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Curator Statement

Gillian Marwood  they/them

Winter 2022 Resident, Art Committee Member, Literary Reviewer

The Jungian Shadow is seen as every experience we’ve endured; all the ick and the ill trying to come to the surface, but only being able to do so when the light of life is right. We are often unable to see our shadows or subconsciously do what we can to run from them. But alas, we are not Peter Pan and they run just as fast. In Shawna Angel Blue’s piece, they have stopped running, or maybe never meant to. They speak to the shadow and bathe in the light that allows the shadow to exist. What I first noticed about the piece was the feeling of release; taking away any urban elements and feelings and discovering only what has ever been natural. It’s accepting all of yourself and finally letting out an exhale.  I often see scenery like this and associate it with an escape, but in Blue’s photo, I see coming home. Finally coming home and feeling at home in your body. 

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HOLES BY GABRIEL ORION MARIE

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Curator Statement

Madeline  she/her

Fall 2021 Intern

“Holes” immediately caught my eyes the second I saw it. It’s a captivating piece, with the girl’s piercing eyes looking at you. I felt entranced by the piece as it tells her traumatic story, but she is still resilient with the life in her eyes. It’s empowering to look at and I want to thank Gabriel Orion Marie for telling such a story with this piece. 

DON’T TOUCH BY CANDACE NICOL

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Curator Statement

Kaitlin Weed  they/them

Art Committee Member, Literary Reviewer

What drew me to this work, to begin with— shallowly, of course, was the incredible texture and depth that Don’t Touch by Candace Nicol invokes. The neutral green, browns, and tans blending with an almost sponge-like texture reminds me of my mother’s house. She would often choose similar colors and textures when painting the interior of her house. I find these colors safe, attractive, yet daunting the longer I look at this work. The mixed media metal (metal? My god! Metal!) creates layers of depth. I am always enchanted by the eye, peering sideways away from the viewer in a cool-grey blue. The eye hovers over a body. This large body holds onto a small body in their hands which you will not, I promise you, notice unless you concentrate. It’s a hidden gem. Someone is in a skirt is trapped, untouchable, behind zigzagging lines. Next to them are symbols of a house, a skull, a possible crown, and other oblong shapes. It’s enchanting, yet you know something is wrong. I relate to a great degree to this sentiment. Nicol’s artist statement answers the off-kilter beauty of this work. “Families envelop generations of secrets, many sexual and abusive, and most are entwined with memories of love and longing.” We see this in the house, the hidden figure, and yet the intrinsic beauty of this work.  And I, probably like many of you, feel it: the tension, the love, the trauma, and the fragmentation of memory.

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TRIGGER WARNING BY L. ZASTRE

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Curator Statement

Joy Airaudi  she/her

Board of Directors Member

As a longtime advocate who has worked with many survivors over the years, this piece particularly resonates with me. I think it represents the healing process for many survivors. Most people entering Awakenings know the subject matter in advance, if not exactly the content of the images or audio they will encounter inside. It is notable that this piece is the first thing people see before entering the gallery... The work, with its title “Trigger Warning” is a reminder, a pause to help mentally and emotionally prepare visitors. Those words, with no other description of the artist’s trauma, acknowledge the different types of trauma and different triggers that people experience. It lets visitors know that Awakenings is a safe space for everyone who enters regardless of where they are in their experience with or understanding of sexual trauma... The healing process is not perfect or easy, and there may be stops, starts and twists, but whatever path one takes is okay.  In the end, the artist acknowledges that she “survived” the traumatic experience.  The artist says in her statement that she felt guilt and shame, but in creating the piece she was better able to deal with her trauma.  It suggests she no longer sees herself as a victim, and it changes the narrative.  The artist said she hoped her work would help others heal, and I feel it has the potential to not only help survivors directly, but also to help others understand and empathize, and ultimately to change rape culture.     

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THE ART OF HEALING SERIES BY LINDA NESS

Curator Statement

Laura Kinter  she/her

Executive Director

Linda Ness’s paintings are very evocative because they are very colorful and very geometric. There’s something very childlike and cartoonish that sucks you in with this energy. Then, as you get closer, you really start to see the trauma the artwork depicts. The paintings are a perfect window of what it’s like to store trauma in the body. There are images of cowering in the corner, of smallness. My favorite is an image of a child sleeping and behind her are other children having fun. This speaks to the experience of trauma as a child that prevents you from having a normal playful childhood, but I think her pieces achieve that playfulness, and I hope give her a sense of that playfulness back through her paintings. Her pieces have been in the Founder Jean Cozier’s collection since before Awakenings was even born so they are a meaningful part of our history. 

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INNOCENCE LOST: RING AROUND THE MAYPOLE
BY SANDRA JEANNE THOMPSON

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Curator Statement

Members of 5th Wave Collective

I chose ‘Innocence Lost’ because of the connection I felt with the colors. The juxtaposition of the reds being something other than the typical anger or stress resonated with me.

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HALF WOMAN, HALF GIRL BY MONIKA PESZEK

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Curator Statement

Stephanie Ledesma  she/her 

Social Justice Practicum Student Fall 2021-Spring 2022

Half Woman, Half Girl is the reality for survivors of sexual violence. It conveys the isolation one goes through to feel safe. This piece peers into a survivor’s struggle to heal. The woman needs to recover from the traumatic experience, but she is first trying to protect her inner child. She appears exhausted as she is weighed down by carrying her injured inner child to a safe home. 

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ANOTHER DAY BY SANDRA JEANNE THOMPSON

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Curator Statement

Serena Luciano  she/her

Fall 2021 Intern

I imagine myself in this room. I feel anxious, I feel scared, I’m trapped in this space.  
I’m little and I’m being observed by a stranger, looking over me. It’s sharp and I’m in pain. I feel alone. Everything is decaying around me, I am also decaying. Sandra Jeanne Thompson shares her intimate emotions about the sexual assault she experienced through these detailed miniature spaces. Although they’re small, they tell a heavy story with a massive amount of emotion and pain. 

LIFE HAS SO MANY SHAPES AND SIDES I-IV
BY MIGUEL BARROS

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Curator Statement

Members of 5th Wave Collective

I was struck by the medium of ‘Life has so many shapes, and sides…’ – the boldness of the colors, and the expansive space that seems to hide within the folds.

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