Oh, Maker

Friday December 7th, 2018

Curated by Darryl DeAngelo Terrell

With work by: Kevin Demery,Mark Allen Blanchard, Shanna Merola, Andrea Coleman, Zakkiyyah Najeebah, Sadie Woods, Michael Curtis Asbil

Within the current social and political climate we’re found looking backward as a way to find answers for today's problems in America. “Oh, Maker” explores the work of 7 artists who through the act of re-appropriating materials are looking at that history of trauma on American Soil, the act of rebellion, as well the narrative of black women, and families. These artists are building on these conversations in their work. Using mix materials, visual language, and archives as a starting source to re-appropriate materials used to aid conversations about America today.

Kevin Demery is a sculptor and painter based initially out the California, BayArea, Demery, has exhibited work at the Arts Incubator at the University of Chicago, had work
included in the 2017 Expo Chicago exhibition, and will have work shown in Expo Chicago 2018. He completed his BFA at California College of Arts in 2014 his MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the spring of 2018. His work explores issues of public and private space, as well as African American folklore and trauma.

Mark Blanchard (b. 1991 Chicago, Illinois) received his BA at Oberlin College (2014) and MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2017). His work manifests in photography, video, cinemagraphs, sound and virtual reality to build interactive experiences addressing various conceptual frameworks for personal identity. He explores identity within the framework of misrepresentations applied to persons of color propagandized through mainstream media within the United States. His practice, in response, has been a process of decentralizing those representations and building digital spaces that cultivate reconciliation of our identities. His process involves navigating the distractions of persona, our projected identities, to satiate this yet unresolved curiosity of humanity: our sense of self. He accomplishes this by activating the voices from within the community and culture, both historical and contemporary, and engaging our aural stories to supplement his visual work. He uses body language influenced from the African diaspora, especially that of Capoeira Angola, to further complicate the overly simplified representations popularized by Others gazing from outside of the culture. His role as the artist
involves exposing the deeper reality of individuality beyond the daily rhetoric that inspires prejudice towards one another.

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Shanna Merola is a visual artist, photojournalist and activist legal worker. In addition to her studio practice, she has been a human rights observer during political uprisings across the
country - from the deeply embattled struggle for water rights in Detroit and Flint, Michigan, to the frontlines of Ferguson, MO and Standing Rock, ND. Her collages and constructed landscapes are informed by these events. Merola lives in Detroit, MI where she facilitates Know-Your-Rights
workshops on best practices during police encounters, and coordinates legal support for grassroots organizations through the Michigan Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild. 

Merola has been a lecturer and visiting artist at the Rhode Island School of Design, the University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities, Cranbrook Academy of Art, the University of Richmond Department of Art and Art History, and the School of Visual and Performing Arts at the University of Toledo. Her work has been published by the Humble Arts Foundation, Art 21 Magazine, Wayne State University Press and Nat.Brut. Her artwork has been exhibited both nationally and abroad. She has been awarded studio residencies at The MacDowell Colony and the Santa Fe Art Institute, and fellowships through the Virginia Museum of Fine Art and the Midwest Environmental Justice Network. Merola holds an MFA in Photography from Cranbrook Academy of Art and a BFA in Photo and Film from Virginia Commonwealth University.


Andrea Coleman is an artist based in Chicago who utilizes the various medium of oils, acrylics paints, magazine clippings, fabric and digital prints. Inspired by her suburban upbringing, animation and various mural artists, her work currently investigates the interconnectedness of aura and narrative. Graduated with her BFA at Columbia College Chicago, she is currently a recent Finalist for the Luminarts Visual Foundation, an Idea Award recipient of the Art and Art Activism organization and Hollis Sigler Manifest Award winner. She is also currently an artist resident in Chicago Artist Coalition HATCH Projects.


Zakkiyyah Najeebah (b. 1991) is a Chicago based photographic artist, educator, and documentarian. She studied Art History and Black Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago, which heavily informs her multidisciplinary practice. The aesthetic components and intersectional cultural advancements that are entirely unique to the black experience is a primary concern of hers.

Zakkiyyah uses photographic imagery to address the politics and aesthetic values of representation, inclusivity, black womanhood, family histories, and collective narratives. Often
her work takes place in the realm of portraiture, documentation, image-making, and educating. Although working primarily in photography, she has recently expanded into video and mixed
media to complicate her concerns. She is currently building a catalog that articulates current and past social concerns regarding black narratives and is exploring new methods of visual presentation.


Sadie Woods, aChicago native with a childhood steeped in performing and visual arts training, Sadie Woods has had an exciting career, showcasing her talents everywhere from academia to nightclubs, boutiques to museums. As an award winning artist, curator, and deejay, her practice includes sonic art and sound design, deejay performance, exhibition making, and collaborations within communities of difference.
Awards and residencies include: 3Arts Make A Wave grantee; 3Arts Artist Projects grantee; Ecole du Magasin Curatorial Program and Harald Szeemmann Independent Methodology
publication, Grenoble, FR; Hyde Park Art Center Program; ACRE Artist-In-Resident & Marwen Alumni Scholarship recipient; Arts + Public Life Resident Curator; Nichols Tower Homan Square
Resident Artist; High Concept Labs Sponsored Artist; Chicago Artists Coalition's HATCH Projects Resident Curator; Independent Curators International Collaborator, Dakar, SN & Joyce Foundation Scholarship recipient; Bemis Center for the Arts Artist-In-Residence program recipient; Terrain-Hatch Projects Resident Curator; Terrain Biennial Curator and Artist; Ragdale Foundation Artist-In-Residence. She has exhibited her work at Adds Donna; Chicago Cultural Center; Art NXT Level Projects, Zhou B Art Center; Compound Yellow; Washington Project for the Arts; The Submission; Roman Susan Gallery; Krasl Art Center. She has had featured curatorial projects at Special Exhibitions EXPO; Gene Siskel Fil Center Exhibition Program, among others.

Sadie is the co-founder of White Label DJs and The Petty Biennial. Sadie received her BA from Columbia College in Music and MFA from The School of the Art Institute in Sound. She is
currently a Resident DJ at The Kimpton Gray Hotel rooftop lounge Boleo and Lecturer at the School of the Art Institute.


Michael Curtis Asbill. MFA, 2017, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, IL. BFA, 2014, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX. Exhibitions: Rise from the Rubble, Weather the Winds: Fundraiser/Auction , Chicago Artist Coalition, Chicago, IL; SAIC MFA Show 2017 , Sullivan Galleries, Chicago, IL; In the Portfolios , Flaxman Library Special Collections, Chicago, IL. SofTactics , Cement Loop, Austin, TX. Collections: The Art Institute of Chicago.

Based in Chicago, IL, I maintain a socially motivated practice concerned with visualizing systems of influence and sharing stories relevant in the United States, today. Through a primarily photographic approach I explore concepts related to contemporary American landscapes by photographing networks of petroleum pipelines, baseball stadiums, and sites of historic trauma in the U.S.. My practice privileges photography because of its demonstrated
capacity to make central vantage points that are intentionally hidden and to make clear our current relationships with the earth, our legislative systems, and each other