‘We Women’ Photo Exhibit on Bloomingdale’s Trail Highlights Non-Binary Women and Photographers


LOGAN SQUARE — The challenges facing black pregnant women in Alabama, the plight of people in Southwest Alaska — one of the first areas in the country to experience relocation due to the climate crisis — and the effects of segregation in Chicago are just some of the issues explored in a new photography exhibit on the Bloomingdale Trail at 606.

The We, Women Traveling Photography Project has taken over the western portion of the popular walking and biking trail. Dozens of photos by 18 gender-nonconforming women and photographers from across the United States now hang on fences along the trail. The inauguration of the exhibition will take place on Saturday.

All of the photos included in the free outdoor exhibit, which is expected to remain in place through September, address “critical issues on the minds of many Americans” including immigration, climate change, race and law enforcement reform. criminal justice, according to the organizers.

Arin Yoon documented the divide between civilian and military populations in his hometown of Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and Sol Aramendi highlighted New York’s immigrant communities – “their daily life, work, and circles of mutual aid,” according to the exhibit’s website.

Local photographer Tonika Johnson, whose Folded Map project won her Chicagoan of the Year in 2017, is the only Chicago artist in the exhibit. For a full list of We, Women artists, go here.

Credit: Provided

The exhibition features artists “whose contributions demonstrate that there is potential for a different future for this country,” co-founder Amy Yenkin said in a press release. “These artists have combined photography and community engagement as a way to maximize visibility and create impact.”

For the grand opening on Saturday, there will be an afternoon of programs at the Avenue Saint-Louis viewpoint from the trail. In the event of inclement weather, programs will be held at the nearby Kimball Arts Center.

Saturday program:

  • Sunprints Kit is hosting an event from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Spectators are encouraged to bring “small items” to make prints. For more information on solar printing, go here.
  • AfriCaribe, a local non-profit organization, is scheduled to perform from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. AfriCaribe focuses on the preservation of Puerto Rican and Caribbean cultures through music, dance, theater and other forms of art, according to its website.
  • Johnson will speak from 3:45 to 4:45 p.m. Johnson is a social justice photographer and artist who co-founded community groups Englewood Arts Collective and Resident Association of Greater Englewood. Johnson’s art “often explores urban segregation, documenting the nuance and richness of the black community to counter media portrayals of Chicago violence,” according to the exhibit.

Chicago is the third stage of the We, Women exhibition after New York and New Orleans. The exhibit is also set to travel to Anchorage, Alaska. Other locations are still being worked on.

We, Women was “born out of mutual frustration over the country’s deep political divisions on issues of economy, race, gender and beyond” after the 2016 presidential election and women’s marches, according to the Press release. The project aims to stimulate “action and dialogue through art”.

The Chicago exhibit is part of the Park District’s Night Out in the Parks series.

Some photos in the exhibition:

Credit: Photo credit: Vero Ramirez
Sol Aramendi’s project, The Workers Studio, illustrates the daily lives of immigrants in New York who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
Credit: Photo credit: Deborah Espinosa
Living with Conviction: Condemned to Debt for Life in Washington State is a project by Deborah Espinosa. The project shines a light on people living with crippling court-imposed debt. Keshena, pictured here, owes at least $50,000 in legal financial obligations: “My debt: not only does it affect me financially, mentally, emotionally, [but also] I want to live like normal people. It affects my mother, it affects my father and it affects my boys. My past haunts me,” she said.
Credit: Photo credit: Bethany Mollenkov
Birth Rights, a project by Bethany Mollenkof, looks at access to maternal health care for black women in Alabama. Mollenkof herself found out she was pregnant during the pandemic, prompting her to turn the lens on herself.

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