Artist Theaster Gates Teams Up with Gallerist Easy Otabor to Showcase Black Artists
CHICAGO, IL - Rebuild Foundation and Anthony Gallery today announced a yearlong partnership to present a series of exhibitions spotlighting the importance of Black space, Black art and Black artists at the Stony Island Arts Bank in 2022. Run by Chicago native Isimeme “Easy” Otabor, Anthony Gallery, which is located in the Fulton River District of Chicago, will collaborate with artist Theaster Gates’ Rebuild Foundation to highlight emerging and established contemporary artists working in the field of African and Black American identity. Rebuild Foundation and Anthony Gallery will kick off the series on January 20th with ‘Is where it’s at!’, a special exhibition from Chicago-based Nigerian American artist Adeshola Makinde.
‘Is where it’s at!,’ a presentation of new and existing works drawing upon the celebrated EBONY and JET Magazines, pays homage to the Johnson Publishing Company’s reign in documenting, celebrating and amplifying all aspects of Black life in America. The exhibition’s title is a nod to musician Nina Simone’s “Young, Gifted and Black” performance at the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, marrying themes of Black empire, Black life and Black music found throughout the archives at the Arts Bank. Makinde, whose work is informed by a strong social justice and activism lens, has had his work featured in collaborations with notable brands Nike, Nordstrom, Soho House, and Notre, to name a few.
“I’m so thrilled to partner with Easy Otabor and Anthony Gallery to showcase and celebrate Black artists at the Stony Island Arts Bank,” said Theaster Gates, Founder and Executive Director of Rebuild Foundation. “It is an honor to support emerging gallerists and artists who are using their craft and platform to amplify the culture. Black neighborhoods are brimming with creative ambition and we’re proud to provide a platform for these emerging young artists. It’s especially fulfilling to kick off this series than with Adeshola Makinde’s work highlighting the legacy of the Johnson Publishing Company, connecting our spaces and our archives to Chicago’s creative communities.”
“Since learning about the Stony Island Arts Bank, it’s been a dream of mine to elevate the work of talented Black artists throughout Chicago and across the country,” said Easy Otabor, Founder of Anthony Gallery. “Partnering with Theaster Gates and developing these shows at the Arts Bank allows curators, collectors and gallerists like myself to demonstrate the rich cultural talent that exists within our communities and has long been overlooked. We’re excited to share these collections and bodies of work with the South Side.”
“‘Is where it’s at!’ is an ode to Black people who continue to enrich the culture of the world,” said Adeshola Makinde, multidisciplinary artist. “Presenting this work in a space inextricably linked to Black excellence and being able to draw upon the Johnson Publishing Library at the Arts Bank is an honor. I’m excited to partner with Rebuild Foundation and Anthony Gallery to share my work in Black space on the South Side.”
‘Is where it’s at!’ will open at 5pm on Thursday, January 20. Guests will be asked to wear a mask and provide proof of vaccination in accordance with CDC guidelines. The exhibition will be on view at the Stony Island Arts Bank Thursdays through Sundays from 12pm to 6pm from January 21, 2022, to February 27, 2022. Rebuild Foundation and Anthony Gallery will collaborate throughout the year to produce and present a number of exhibitions at the Arts Bank.
For more information about this collaboration, please visit www.rebuild-foundation.org