Black Lives Matter: “Our Duty to Fight” opens at Gallery 400

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Date(s) - 04/27/2016 - 06/11/2016
All Day

Gallery 400


Black Lives Matter at 400 gallery

Cairá Lee Connor at #StoptheCops, 2015, Photography by Sarah-Ji of

Attend the opening reception of “our duty to fight,” organized by Black Lives Matter Chicago (BLMChi) and allied movement organizations and projects, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 27, at Gallery 400, located at 400 S. Peoria. The exhibition runs through June 11th.

“our duty to fight” is a call to join the rebellion being waged. This exhibition both holds space for survivors and families bereft of justice and healing under anti-Black state violence and offers a living testament to the specific and shared struggles that have been at the core of radical, visionary world-making in Chicago organizing.

For the exhibition, new artworks by artists Jireh L. Drake, Itunuoluwa Ebijimi, Makeba Kedem-DuBose, La Keisha Leek and Bryant Cross, Zakkiyyah Najeebah, Sherwin Ovid, Ariel Perkins-Fenwick, Shelby Stone, Ethos Viets-VanLear, and Rhonda Wheatley are being created in collaboration with families and survivors waging struggles for accountability and respect for their fallen. Participating are the families of Rekia Boyd, Dakota Bright, Dominique “Damo” Franklin Jr., Justus Howell, Ronald “Ronnieman” Johnson, Flint Farmer, Darius Pinex, and Stephon Watts.

Accompanying these works will be artworks and ephemera highlighting the paths to recent intersectional movement victories such as the Level I Adult Trauma Center being developed in Hyde Park and the 2013 Reparations Ordinance for Chicago Police Torture Survivors. Also included is a new digital artwork by artist James T. Green referencing the Movement for Black Lives as made manifest in social media. Moreover, to enable multiple platforms for coming together, the exhibition will include an artist-designed space by Cairá Lee Conner for large and small-scale performances, workshops, and knowledge-sharing.

A series of exhibition programs aims to highlight trending questions and provocations raised by #BlackLivesMatter movement work: How are we to honor what survivors, families, and communities have lost—and what expectations for protection and representation they have abandoned—to envision and bring about grief, safety, and healing? How do we transform violence and oppression into self-defense and community autonomy? How do we envision a reality where Black Lives not only matter, but are liberated? our duty to fight spurs dialogue and action toward realizing liberation, abolishing oppressive systems, and maximizing opportunities to practice justice. Most directly, our duty to fight invites exhibition visitors to join the struggle against state repression and terror while working to build collective power.

Founded in 1983, Gallery 400 is one of the nation’s most vibrant university galleries, showcasing work at the leading edge of contemporary art, architecture, and design. The Gallery’s program of exhibitions, lectures, film and video screenings, and performances features interdisciplinary and experimental practices. Operating within the College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts at the University of Illinois at Chicago—the largest and most diverse university in Chicago—Gallery 400 endeavors to make the arts and its practitioners accessible to a broad spectrum of the public and to cultivate a variety of cultural and intellectual perspectives. Gallery 400 is recognized for its support of the creation of new work, the diversity of its programs and participants, and the development of experimental models for multi-disciplinary exhibition.

For more details, visit the Gallery 400 website.

Gallery 400 is open Tuesday through Friday, 10am-6pm and Saturday 12-6pm and by appointment.
Admission to the gallery is FREE.

Gallery 400
College of Architecture and the Arts
University of Illinois at Chicago
400 South Peoria Street (MC 034)
Chicago, IL 60607