Something from Something

Opening: Friday, Jul 21, 2023 5:30 – 7:30 pm
Friday, Jul 21 – Aug 26, 2023

864 N. Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

“Something from Something is a pursuit to find what we don’t know yet, but, unlike pulling ‘something from nothing,’ we intuit that it is born from past experiences, teachings, moments, fleeting thoughts, or spiritual downloads that have not yet woven themselves into a legible thought.” — Adia Sykes

ENGAGE Projects is thrilled to announce our upcoming exhibition Something from Something, a collaborative project between Adia Sykes and Kushala Vora that seeks knowledge not through its direct pursuit, but rather a meandering of spirit that compels us from one experience to the next. The gallery will serve as a glimpse into “the immense possibilities that come with being in thought partnership with one another” through sculpture, drawing, gesture, and conversation. The collaborators find common ground in their canopied memories of time-honored trees that served as hubs for community organizing, solitude, mischief, and creativity in their youth. Vora and Sykes invite the viewers to nurture their relationship to the unknown, creating once again a space for boundless potentiality.

Ceramic sculptures lean and float in the gallery space as if to suggest a vibrant ecosystem of new growth and gentle decay. Frosted by a ceramic glaze shell, lichen-green drips from the felled objects like bark beetle patterns, and fossilized cloth hangs in wet-drapery fashion over the skeletal forms. Soft drawings emulate the same exposure to the elements with their windblown petals and earthy palette. The apparent symbiotics of the work ring loudly of the collaborative relationship from which they were born.

We welcome you to join us for an opening reception on July 21st, 2023 from 5:30 - 8:00pm. Connect with the collaborators on August 5th for a picnic and reading circle at Humboldt Park, or join us in conversation on August 23rd at ENGAGE Projects for a closing talk about the show. More details to come!

Kushala is currently a Jackman Goldwasser Resident at the Hyde Park Art Center in Chicago. She has been a resident at Skowhegan School of Painting and Drawing, Anderson Ranch Art Center, Chicago Artist Coalition, Søndre Green Farm Norway, and ACRE Residency. Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts, Nagoya, Japan; Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit; Mana Contemporary, Chicago; Harvard University, Cambridge; Chicago Artist Coalition; and National Indo-American Museum among others. Kushala received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She holds a post-graduate diploma in Modern and Contemporary Indian Art History and Curatorial Studies from Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Mumbai, India, and a BFA from Tufts University / SMFA, Boston. She is the co-founder of Atmo - a reading + praxis form.

Adia Sykes is a Chicago-based independent curator and arts administrator. Her current research examines the potential of curating as an advocacy tool for racial equity in the arts. Through her practice, she seeks to center philosophies
of improvisation and intuition, engaging them as tools by which meaningful relationships between artists and viewers can be cultivated, while leaving space for the vernacular to mingle with constructs of history and theory. Her curatorial projects include Locating Memory (Chicago Mayor’s Office, 2018), Project Radio London (Centro Arte Opificio Siri in Terni, Italy, 2018), and The Petty Biennial.2 (Chicago, 2019-2020). She has also realized projects with the Art Institute

of Chicago, Sullivan Galleries, Woman Made Gallery, Material Exhibitions, Roman Susan Gallery, and Comfort Station. Adia earned a Masters of Arts from the Department of Arts Administration and Policy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2018) and a BA in Anthropology from the University of Chicago (2016) with a focus on material culture and museums.

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Image: Droop and Drop Into the Dust, colored pencil on archival paper, 8.5 x 11,” 2018