VISUAL   |   LITERARY   |   PERFORMANCE  

Visual Art

Awakenings runs a beautiful gallery space that showcases rotating exhibits featuring art made by survivors of sexual violence. Our staff is trained to provide a safe, compassionate, and healing-informed professional arts experience to survivors from the moment they submit their work, to the moment they take it off the walls.

Now on View

Homegrown Exhibit

Brought to Light:

A Gathering of Voices

May – August 2022

Awakenings’ presents an exhibition featuring artists Annalise Castro and Merudjina. Both artists gathered narratives from individual and communal voices to create their pieces. Merudjina weaves stories by connecting the body and inner-self to other survivors in their paintings and immersive sound scape. Annalise’s multimedia painting series depicts the stories of anonymous survivors from Awakenings’ community. Viewers will be invited to add their own voice on the interactive “feedback wall” in reflection and response to seeing the artwork. 

Permanent Exhibit

LEGACY

Summer 2020- Present

Legacy is an exhibition that looks at survivor art through a historical lens. In this exhibit, members of the Awakenings community act as our docents to guide us through our Permanent Collection by sharing their modern interpretations and responses to the work. This exhibit is currently on view at the 47th Ward Alderman’s Office

Previous Residencies

Artist Residency 

February 2022

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. 

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Previous Exhibits

"Here Comes the Sun" by Veronica Ravichandran

Homegrown

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.

"Here Comes the Sun" by Veronica Ravichandran

Embodying Justice

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.

"Here Comes the Sun" by Veronica Ravichandran

Return

Feb- 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.

Bloom Exhibit

Bloom

Oct 2020 – Jan 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. 

Monika Peszek

A Stirring

Jan – 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.

Reclaim Exhibit Image

Reclaim

Oct 2019 – Jan 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.

[Upheaval]

June – Sep 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.

Healing Generations

Spring 2019

This exhibit explored ofrendas as an artistic expression of hope, home, and personal truths that are often silenced across generations, cultures, and gender lines. These ofrendas offered deeply symbolic and sacred understanding around difficult pasts, the present, and show us what hope for tomorrow looks like through the creators’ eyes. Collectively, the ofrendas wove a narrative threading the artists’ individual experience to a present journey they are initiating together to the dismantle the systemic oppression that leads to gender-based violence. Healing Generations reached through the past to reclaim the sacred and reaches to the future to offer hope and healing.