On June 2, The Center on Halsted hosted openings of exhibitions courtesy of artist/filmmaker Lilly Wachowski and artist Tennessee Loveless.
"Say Our Names," by Wachowski, is in the second-floor gallery. This exhibit features 27 portraits of trans people murdered in 2016 in the United States. At the opening, Wachowski issued a statement ( written a day after Donald Trump's presidency was confirmed ) that read, in part, "This series of portraits began toward the end of July 2016; an outlet of the overwhelming emotion I was feeling in the relentless waves of mortal acts of violence against trans people over the course of the year. With each headline, each murder, I felt wanting to connect, to remember, to honor."
While the overall theme conjures sadness, Wachowski somehow manages to capture the vibrancy in each individual, including Skye Mockabee, Maya Young, Brandi "Chill" Bledsoe and Chicagoan T.T. Saffore.
Speaking of vibrancy, "Drag Landscapes," by Loveless ( who happens to be color-blind ), is in the third-floor gallery. This pop-art exhibitspotlighting local drag queens such as Shea Coulee and Trannika Rextells the story of each subject in that person's words. Loveless, who told Windy City Times that he counts Andy Warhol and Keith Haring among his inspirationssaid the entire project was completed within four months.
In an email to Windy City Times, Loveless stated, "'Drag Landscapes' is a focus on gender performers on a global scale, and Chicago, a city I love so dearly, is the beginning focus of the project."
The exhibitions will run through Tuesday, July 11.
Photos and text by Andrew Davis