Leaf by Leaf

Friday, Aug 24 – Sep 13, 2018 6 – 9 pm

2130-40 West Fulton St., Chicago, IL 60612

Opening Reception: Friday, August 24, from 6-9 pm

The Chicago Artists Coalition is pleased to present Leaf by Leaf, a HATCH Projects exhibition featuring works by Whit Forrester, India Martin, and Yasmin Spiro.

There is a force of exultation, a celebration of luck, when a writer finds himself a witness to the early morning of a culture that is defining itself, branch by branch, leaf by leaf, in that self-defining dawn.... Then the noun, the "Antilles" ripples like brightening water, and the sounds of leaves, palm fronds, and birds are the sounds of a fresh dialect, the native tongue. The personal vocabulary...joins in that sound, with any luck, and the body moves like a walking, a waking island.

-Derek Walcott, The Antilles: Fragments of Epic Memory; the Nobel Lecture, 1992

Inspired by the prose of Saint Lucian poet Derek Walcott, Leaf by Leaf presents three Chicago-based artists examining geography’s connection to power, placemaking, and cultural identity. Through the media of photography and installation, Whit Forrester, India Martin, and Yasmin Spiro explore how experiences specific to diasporic communities are inscribed into postcolonial topographies and their natural ecosystems. In Leaf by Leaf, portraits of house plants referencing botany’s colonial history are in dialogue with sublime landscape photographs of Hawaiian foliage, or contrasted against repetitive grids patterns woven into sculptures inspired by urban development in Kingston, Jamaica. By exploring elements from organic environments--wood, gold, sunlight, bodies of water, plant life--and human-made materials from urban cities, they forge connections across transnational borders and ancestral homelands.

Whit Forrester, India Martin, and Yasmin Spiro draw from the frameworks of decolonization, systemic power structures, postcolonial ecology, social politics and ritual to understand cultural diasporas as networks of connected identities, not fractured communities. Together, artists in Leaf by Leaf challenge narratives surrounding colonialism and imperialism to demonstrate how our relationship to the living world is the conduit that has allowed us to exist as a moving organism of interdependent, diasporic relations.

Leaf by Leaf is curated by Sabrina E. Greig.

Image: India Martin, "Money", 2018