740 East 56th Place
Chicago, IL 60637
Fabiola Jean-Louis’ Rewriting History: paper gowns and photographs, is an inquiry into social change. How much has society really changed since the beginning of slavery? Do Black lives matter even in the 21st century? The exhibition interrogates these questions and more through a haunting photographic essay and paper sculptures styled to mimic garments worn by female European nobility between the 15th – 19th centuries. As part of a developing master series of paper gown sculptures, the series speaks to the shocking treatment of Blacks throughout history and the trauma inflicted on their bodies as juxtaposed with the abstract idea of Black freedom. Simultaneously, the body of work engages with a vision of the future – one of hope, strength, resilience, and beauty.
The materials used for the paper gown sculptures are transformed in a way that allows the artist to represent layers of time and the events of the past as they intrude upon the present. Through the materials, the artist suggests that although we cannot change the past, we can act to change the present, as we activate the memories, visions, and legacies of our ancestors. Rewriting History seeks to reconnect viewers to the past so that parallels with current events are amplified.
Fabiola Jean-Louis is a Haitian born, Brooklyn, NY based mixed media artist. Her work is informed by her Afro-Caribbean heritage, Black culture, and the dialogue of mysticism.