The ten-month Artist-in-Residence program for individual artists places specific emphasis on those whose work critically engages issues of race and ethnicity and works to advance their artistic ambitions and opportunities. During this program, resident artists have access to rehearsal, performance, and exhibition space at or near the Arts Incubator in Washington Park, as well as access to the academic and research resources of the University.

Meet the 2015-16 Artists-in-Residence:

15-16 APL AIRS.png

2015-16 Artists-in-Residence. From left to right: Greg Bray; Aquil Charlton; Nazafarin Lotfi

Working across painting and sculpture, Greg Bray blends collage and assemblage with an exploration of random structures. For Resonant Objects, Bray presents abstract sculptures informed by his research into the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear purge that occurred in Eastern Japan in 2011. Fashioned from discarded chairs, Bray’s works are uncanny contortions of wood, plastic, metal & electrical cords. At once acquiring anthropomorphic guises and suggesting new forms, Bray’s sculptures speak to humanity’s resilience and capacity to create anew following moments of rupture. 

As the resident musician in this year’s cohort, Aquil Charlton’s work focuses on his music education, sound design, and songwriting practices; as well as his research into the life and work of influential American singer/songwriter Eugene “Gene” McDaniels. McDaniel’s politically motivated recordings garnered success in the late 1960’s and in recent times various hip-hop producers including Prince Paul and Q-Tip of Native Tongues have sampled his work. Following this lineage, Charlton’s presentation infuses music creation with a deep social consciousness and pedagogical intent. Culling elements from McDaniel’s music and lyrics, as well as from his own repertoire Charlton presents a series of sound installations that interpolate the unique acoustic and spatial qualities of the presenting galleries. Also on view is Charlton’s Mobile Music Box, an interactive vehicle made in partnership with Ava Grey Designs and West Town Bikes that features instructions and recycled materials for making musical instruments.

Nazafarin Lotfi’s sculpture- and performance-based practice explores the relationship between object, body, and space. Lotfi engages in daily rituals of walking between her home and several spaces across Chicago’s Hyde Park and Washington Park neighborhoods, accompanied by large-scale, boulder-like sculptures crafted from papier-mâché. These mundane experiences—often reserved solely for the artist and without a prescribed audience—are recorded in physical impressions on the object’s delicate surfaces as they are rolled on the ground, as well as through the artist’s own body as she negotiates holding and carrying them aloft. For the exhibition, Lotfi presents a series of sculptures with distressed and painted surfaces alongside video and photographs documenting her actions in the public sphere. 

Artist Residency programs are supported by Arts + Public Life, the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture, and The Joyce Foundation.