Water Becomes Blood

Thursday, May 27 – Jun 27, 2021

1332 S. Halsted St.
Chicago, IL 60607
New address as of Nov. 2023

Woman Made Gallery (WMG) is pleased to present “Water Becomes Blood,” a group exhibition juried by Aliya Parashar and Zakkiyyah Najeebah Dumas O'Nealfeaturing the work of 9 LGBTQ+ artists exploring the importance of non-familial relationships that foster a sense of nurturing, community, and acceptance. The exhibition is on view at the gallery.

About the Exhibition

When safety is not always promised in blood relations, chosen families can create a space that centers around the security of their individuals. These families host love, joy, and acceptance at their core via unquestioned support. This allows members to explore and self-actualize in the form of true liberation. They also provide room for members to question themselves and the greater community during the process of their journey.

Jurors' Statement 

“What is the process of garnering a family? Water Becomes Blood explores queer/trans relationships surrounding the theme of “found families.” We have begun to look towards work that explores networks, familial connections, and relationships with blood relatives—further solidifying the environments which constitute a group of identities that have found each other in the domain of building intimate relationships. We have selected a group of works which involve various media to explore these metaphorical connections best; the complications in/with finding families are best represented through a range of materials to fully render a thoughtful and accurate representation of the subject at play. 

Woman Made Gallery recognizes the lack of representations of LGBTQ+ folks. While it is a dedicated space for women and non-binary folk, we have also begun to explore the ideas of transness and queerness in all of its representations. In doing so forming intimate relationships with the artists is a beautiful mirroring of the networks we consider as found families. Mysticism, religion, sexuality, mythos, materiality, and intimacy are all explored in their complications of consanguineous relations. Found families are manifested as complicated, non-nuclear, and rejecting hegemonic standards of familial connections. Thus, providing nuanced representations of intimacy and family. 

After all, where would we be without our kin?"

- Aliya Parashar and Zakkiyyah Najeebah Dumas O'Neal

Exhibiting Artists: 

Vani Aguilar
Arielle Cottingham
Micah Dillman
Sophia Karina English
Haylie Jimenez
Sebastian Olayo
silky shoemaker
Xitlalli Sixta Tarin

About the Jurors: 

Aliya Parashar (she/her) is an interdisciplinary artist who works in mediums of fibers + materials and installation art in order to communicate the intersection of gender identity, post-colonial theory, and mythology. She strives to strike a balance between celebrating femininity and honoring bodies while creating a vision of resistance through garments and fiber production. Her work has been featured in SHUBA, Paper, Post, Crux, and Posture Magazine with her most recent show taking place at ACREprojects in 2019. Aliya holds a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago after transferring from Otis College of Art and Design. She is now pursuing her MA/MFA dual degree at the California College of Arts in San Francisco.

Zakkiyyah Najeebah Dumas O'Neal is a Chicago-based visual artist, educator, and independent curator. Zakkiyyah's work is most often initiated by personal and social histories related to family legacy, queerness, community making, and interiority. Zakkiyyah's practice borrows from visual traditions such as social portraiture, video assemblage, and vernacular found family sourced materials. Currently, Zakkiyah's body of work prioritizes social relationships related to queerness, Black women’s identity formation, family, social architectures, and the desire for connectedness. Zakkiyyah is a Co-founder of Concerned Black Image Makers, a collective-driven project that prioritizes shared experiences and concerns by lens-based artists of the Black diaspora; and most recently has been featured in exhibitions at South Bend Museum of Art, Goldfinch Gallery, Blanc Gallery, Glass Curtain Gallery, ADDS DONNA, and Zhou B. Art Center.

Organized by Lish Atchison Roeder

View the exhibition online
Visit the Gallery -- Thursday-Saturday-Sunday  12 - 4

COVID-10 Update: As of May 24, 2021, Woman Made Gallery is following the City of Chicago's Phase 4 guidelines and allowing in-person social events to resume for fully vaccinated visitors.  No appointment necessary. Face masks are required.  Verbal vaccination status will be asked of each visitor and the gallery will monitor capacity to stay under 250 visitors.