CHICAGO, IL ( August 30, 2016 ) — "Weaving Cultures", a new mural celebrating underrepresented women of diverse backgrounds, including a transgender Latina, will be unveiled by local Chicago artists Sam Kirk and Sandra Antongiorgi on September 8, 2016 at 5 p.m. at 16th Street and Blue Island in the Pilsen community. A meet and greet celebration will follow the unveiling from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at The Tack Room, located at 1807 S. Allport.
The 15 ft. x 40 ft. mural, commissioned by the Chicago Public Art Group, was developed to increase awareness and encourage a dialogue around unity and acceptance.
"Members of the LGBT community live throughout the city, but often don't feel comfortable being themselves in their communities. Public art has the ability to reach many people and we hope this mural will increase visibility for the women represented in our work," said Sam Kirk. "There's a need to have more positive images of women of color. We're hoping this work will ignite a consciousness around the power of inclusion," added Antongiorgi.
Kirk and Antongiorgi created the mural opposite the iconic "Galeria del Barrio" mural completed by Aurelio Diaz in 1976. Kirk restored the "Galeria del Barrio" mural in May 2016 and began working on the extension with Antongiorgi in July.
Located at the intersection of 16th and Blue Island in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood, the mural sits at the border of a predominantly large Latino and African-American community, an area known as an artists' enclave that is also experiencing gentrification.
"Weaving Cultures" and the "Galeria del Barrio" restoration are projects managed by Chicago Public Art Group and funded by Alderman Danny Solis. To view the progress of the mural both artists have included photographs of the process via their social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram: @iamsamkirk or @santongiorgi.
About the Artists
Sam Kirk, a multidisciplinary artist explores culture, identity and urban politics through her art. Born and raised on the south side of Chicago, Kirk is the product of a multi-racial working class family. Her upbringing largely contributes to the inspiration behind her work. Her vibrant color palette and intricate line-work reveals abstract stories laced with optimism. Kirk has exhibited throughout the US, received commissions from private collectors and commercial clients including collaborations with Don Julio, Guinness, Red Bull, Rolling Stone Magazine, and Tasty Trade, among others. She was chosen to design the Chicago Made SXSW 2015/2016 space, and has been featured in numerous media outlets. Adamant on giving back, she uses her work as a visual platform to incite change and drive awareness, for issues faced by communities of color including the LGBT spectrum. Many of her exhibits have been used as a funding tool to help people in need and non-profits that support these communities.
Sandra Antongiorgi draws upon life experiences, power relationships, culture, boundaries, mysticism and spirituality. She is a champion of children's rights and works to expose the damage caused by family violence, incarceration and systematic marginalization. Sandra's work delves deeply into those struggles normally hidden from view. Her surreal imagery is engaging, powerful and thought provoking. Sandra's passion for arts & education, combined with her dedication to philanthropy, makes her a frequent contributor to community arts projects.
Born in Puerto Rico and raised in Chicago's Pilsen/Little Village community, Antongiorgi was inspired by the rich and vibrant art and music of both the Mexican and Puerto Rican culture that is present in her work today. She has contributed to scores of murals that have dotted the Chicago cityscape and has exhibited throughout the city, including the School of the Art Institute and the National Museum of Mexican Art.
Sandra has used her experiences to create and implement music and art initiatives rooted in diversity and inclusion. Many of these initiatives have served as models for programs at schools and community centers on a national level.