Englewood Artist Explores ‘The Black Chicago Experience’ in Photo Exhibit
ENGLEWOOD — Black joy and liberation are the focus of an exhibition created by an Englewood artist and opening in February.
Artist Isiah”ThoughtPoetVeney’s gallery uses photographs from the past decade to shine a light on South Side artists, revolutionaries and community members, and questions ‘what would black life be like if the police didn’t exist? not”.
Veney will launch his exhibit, “(#iKnowFolksAss) The Interlude,” with an event at 9 p.m. on February 22 at Hideout Chicago, 1354 W. Wabansia Ave. Advance tickets are $12 and can be purchased online.
All profits from the gallery will be used to finance local mutual aid funds; Nita’s Love Train, a group that provides basic necessities to parents and their children; and Cure Every Revolutionary (HER) Chicagoan organization that fights for social equity.
“I want people to understand that this work isn’t easy to swallow, but it’s something we need to move forward,” Veney said. “I’m proud to hold and move these stories forward because the more these stories are told, the more we exist.”
For the past 10 years, Veney has stood behind a camera and captured the South Side from the perspective of one of his own. Born and raised in Chatham and Burnside, he now lives and spends his time creating in Englewood.
In 2021 Veney became a member of the Englewood Arts Collective United Still. Along with 10 other South Side artists, he received $3,500 to create a project that celebrates or engages his community.
Behind the lens, Veney captured the impact of Chicago artists like Chance the Rapper and Chief Keef, and he stood front and center during protests following the murder of George Floyd, he said.
In “(#iKnowFolksAss) The Interlude,” Veney juggles illustrating tense and joyful moments on the South Side until they coalesce into a narrative of a united community, he said.
“This work involves what Chicago’s South Side is made of, music, arts, culture, organizers, everything,” Veney said. “It’s not a whitewashed version of Chicago. It’s a very direct insight into what it means to build and improve our black and brown communities.
The title of the exhibit, a phrase coined in Chicago, is meant as a term of endearment, Veney said. Expression is another way of saying that you know or recognize someone.
When viewers see “(#iKnowFolksAss) The Interlude,” Veney wants them to see themselves in the photos, he said.
And for those witnessing something entirely new, Veney hopes to welcome them into the “Black Chicago experience.”
“The photos people see are of people and communities trying to make a difference, and a lot of times people don’t get to hear from those people in those communities,” Veney said. “I want people to understand that this is something you can embrace and support.”
All participants must be 21 years of age or older. Identity and vaccination cards will be checked at the entrance. Masks are mandatory.
Listen to “It’s Alright: A Block Club Chicago Podcast” Here: