Still Here: Torture, Resiliency and the Art of Memorializing 

Exhibition Dates: March 15-April 26, 2019

Exhibition Opening: 
Friday, March 15, 2019 | 6:00-8:00pm | FREE
Arts Incubator Gallery, 301 E Garfield Blvd., Chicago, IL  |  FREE

Presented by 
Arts + Public Life and Chicago Torture Justice Memorials

Curated by
Hannah Jasper, Independent Interdisciplinary Curator, Arts + Public Life Exhibition Coordinator

Monica Chadha/Nelly Agassi, Juan Chavez, Sonja Henderson, Andres Hernandez, Preston Jackson, Patricia Nguyen/John Lee

Still Here is an exhibition showcasing six design proposals submitted by commissioned artists which will become the Chicago Torture Justice Memorial. The public memorial brings awareness to the torture of more than 120 Black men and women from 1972 to 1991 by the Chicago Police Department under the direction of former Police Commander Jon Burge. The memorial is intended to honor the decades-long struggle for justice, as well as the survivors, families, and communities targeted by Burge and his midnight crew. 

The public memorial is one component of the historic Reparations Ordinance passed on May 6, 2015. Chicago is the first municipality in the United States to provide reparations for racially-motivated law enforcement violence. Six artists were invited to submit proposals to produce an ambitious, permanent public artwork to honor named and unnamed torture survivors. The artists are Monica Chadha/Nelly Agassi, Juan Chavez, Sonja Henderson, Andres Hernandez, Preston Jackson, and Patricia Nguyen/John Lee. 

The winning design proposal will be selected by a team of jurors comprised of torture survivors, artists, community activists, cultural workers, architects, educators, and individuals in the philanthropic community. The selected proposal will be announced in the spring of 2019.

For more information about the Reparations Report Card and Burge survivors memorial, visit



Hear It Directly
On Wednesdays between March 15 and April 26 from 1-4pm, survivors will be in the gallery to share their thoughts on the exhibition with visitors.

Creative Freedom: Writing In and Out of Prison
Tue. March 20 | 7-9pm
The Guild Literary Complex presents a reading and panel featuring formerly incarcerated writers, and writers who teach in prisons, sharing their work and their perspectives on writing in prison, writing outside of prison, and writing about prison from both inside and out. A Guild Literary Complex Applied Words event presented in partnership with Arts & Public Life and Chicago Torture Justice Memorials as part of the Still Here: Torture, Resiliency and the Art of Memorializing exhibition. Featuring: Tara Betts, Eric Blackmon, Michael Fischer, and Reuben Taylor. Moderated by
Mike Puican. This event is a part of the Guild Literary Complex’s Applied Words series of multidisciplinary events and conversations on contemporary social issues. For more info see:

Fund the Burge Torture Justice Memorial with Persuasive Posters
Sun. March 31 | 12:30pm-3:30pm

Create an original work of poster art insisting on the city’s investment in Chicago’s forthcoming permanent public memorial honoring survivors of racially motivated police torture and the decades-long struggle for justice by survivors, families, and communities targeted by former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge and his midnight crew of detectives. Make a persuasive print that can be reproduced and displayed to raise awareness about the nation’s first police torture memorial–made possible by the historic Reparations Ordinance ratified on May 6, 2015 by Chicago’s City Council. Using letterpress and screen-printing techniques, participants will collaboratively create a “Fund the Burge Torture Justice Memorial” poster series ready for immediate circulation. All experience levels welcome. Workshop materials will be supplied. Workshop facilitated by William Estrada

Liberatory Memory Workshop
Fri. April 5 | 10:00am-5:00pm | Chicago Torture Justice Center, 641 W. 63rd Street
Sat. April 6 | 12:30pm-7:00pm | Arts Incubator, 301 E Garfield Blvd

Too often the media and politicians tell stories about our communities that are simply not true. Join us for this two-day workshop to explore how owning our stories creates pathways to change, and be trained as a liberatory memory worker. This workshop offers training for survivors, their families, and everyone interested and involved in contributing to building and making visible the history of police torture and police violence in Chicago, with a particular emphasis on Burge era survivors and their families. Together, we will learn how to engage memory as a tool to honor our past and create change for our future. The workshop will be concluded with a commemorative activity open to the public in the Arts Incubator gallery and connected to the “Still Here: Torture, Resiliency and the Art of Memorializing” exhibition. Commitment to both days is required to participate in this workshop.  Please RSVP to cindy@chicagotorturejustice.orgFacilitated by Maria Emma Wills, former member of the Historical Memory Center in Colombia, currently visiting professor in University of Columbia, Vancouver; and Jarret Drake archivist, activist, PhD student at Harvard; coordinated by María Acosta, DePaul University with the support of Chicago Torture Justice Center and Chicago Torture Justice Memorials. 

What Does Justice Look Like? Radical Empathy, Visual Voice, and Collaborative Quiltmaking
Sat. April 20 | 12:00pm-3:00pm
Quilts are powerful expressions of history and a long-standing artistic practice within the African American tradition of storytelling. The visual voice offered through quilting is unique and necessary in our modern world. As technology streams graphic images of police violence, quilting is an art form that invites the viewer to construct, craft and chronicle black narratives creatively and with care. In this quilt design workshop, participants will hear from torture survivors who fought for and won unprecedented reparations legislation providing redress from the city for racially motivated police violence. The workshop will explore what justice looks like through design activities that will contribute to the making of a quilt honoring the lives of Chicago police torture survivors. Workshop facilitated by Dorothy Burge. 

Closing Reception
Fri. April 26 | 6:00pm-8:00pm


Chicago Reader, Chicago Torture Justice Memorials Pushes Ahead To Create A Site of Remembrance For Burge, March 2019 

NBC 5 News, Art Memorial to Honor Chicago Police Torture Victims, March 14, 2019 

WBEZ, Art Exhibit Honors Torture Victims of Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge, March 19, 2019

South Side Weekly, A Symbol of Healing, March 27, 2019 (print and online)

The Chicago Maroon, Still Here: Torture, Resilience, and the Art of Memorializing, April 8, 2019 (print and online)